Interfaith dialogue is essential, says Pope in Africa

Teach young people that violence in god’s name is unjustified

GN Bureau | November 26, 2015



Dialogue between religions is essential to teach young people that violence in god’s name is unjustified.  Pope Francis said this today in Kenya on the first day of his African tour. He told Christian and Muslim leaders in Kenya that they have little choice but to engage in dialogue to guard against the "barbarous" Islamic extremist attacks that have struck Kenya recently. Religious leaders must be "prophets of peace" in a world sown by hatred, the pope said.

He said interfaith dialogue isn't a luxury or optional, but is simply "essential."

Francis insisted that religion can never be used to justify violence and lamented that "all too often, young people are being radicalized in the name of religion to sow discord and fear, and to tear at the very fabric of our societies."

He held a meeting with Kenyan Christian, Muslim and other faith leaders at the start of a busy day that will also see him celebrate mass on a rain-soaked university campus and deliver a major environment speech to the UN regional headquarters in Nairobi. On Friday, he heads to Uganda for the second leg of his first African pilgrimage.

Kenya, a former British colony is majority Christian, but Muslims represent about 10 percent of the population.

The country has seen a spate of attacks by Islamist militants, including al-Shabaab’s 2013 attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall and this year’s assault on Marissa university.

Hundreds of people have been killed in the past two years, with Christians sometimes singled out by the gunmen behind the raids.

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