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Pope Francis urges religious tolerance to counter extremism on Turkey trip


Turkey

Pope Francis urges religious tolerance to counter extremism on Turkey trip

Pope Francis has called for religious tolerance to counter extremism in the Middle East.

The pontiff made the comments during a speech with Turkey’s top cleric on Friday at the start of his visit to the predominantly Muslim country.

He had strong words for Islamist militants fighting in Iraq and Syria.

“Any violence looking for religious justification deserves the strongest condemnation because the omnipotent is the God of life and peace,” he said.

Earlier on, meeting with President Erdogan at his lavish 1,000 room palace, he said that lasting peace in the battle against fundamentalism could only be found by tackling poverty.

The pope began his three day trip with a visit to the tomb of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who founded the modern secular Turkish state in 1923.

He will travel to Istanbul on Saturday to meet with Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of some 300 million Orthodox Christians.

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