“No! to every form of violence, vengeance and hatred carried out in the name of religion or in the name of God,” Pope Francis. “No! to every form of violence, vengeance and hatred carried out in the name of religion or in the name of God,” Pope Francis.

Pope Francis denounces barbarity, violence, extremism during visit to Cairo

Fri, Apr. 28, 2017
CAIRO – 28 April 2017: During his visit to Cairo to promote dialogue with the Muslim world following recent attacks against the Middle East’s biggest Christian community, Pope Francis denounced violence committed in God’s name.

Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, delivered a speech on Friday at Al-Azhar International Peace Conference saying, “The future principally relies on the dialogue between all religions.”

The Pope landed in Cairo earlier on Friday before meeting President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and then Al-Azhar's Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb.

Francis opened his speech with "As-Salaam Alaikum", the traditional Arabic Muslim greeting that means "Peace be upon you".

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Pope Francis gives speech at Al-Azhar - Egypt Today/Karim Abdel Aziz

During his speech at Al-Azhar, the heart of Sunni Islam scholarship, Pope Francis stressed the importance of unity between Muslims and Christians to shape world peace.

“Let us say, once and for all, no, to every form of violence, vengeance and hatred carried out in the name of religion or in the name of God,” the Pope said in Italian during the speech.

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Pope Francis gives speech at Al-Azhar - Egypt Today/Karim Abdel Aziz

The visit marks Pope Francis as the first pontiff to visit Al-Azhar institution since Pope John Paul II in 2000.

The Pope's visit, which deployed high security measures, comes three weeks after bombings at two Coptic churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday, killing at least 45 people.

The Islamic State (IS) terrorist group claimed responsibility for the Palm Sunday attacks as well as a bombing which killed 28 people at Egypt's main cathedral before Christmas.

After the peace conference at Al-Azhar, the Pope and Sisi arrived at Al-Masa Hotel.

Pope Francis, during his speech at Al-Masa Hotel, focused on Egypt's role in fighting terrorism in the region, highlighting its role, given some incidents from its biblical and modern history.

“Egypt has a duty to enforce peace upon the region, despite being wounded on its own land, due to extremism and violence that deprived families of their beloved,” Pope Francis said. “A civilization cannot be built without eradicating evil,” he added.

Upon his arrival in Cairo, the Pope was received at Cairo airport by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and top Christian clerics.

President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi received the Catholic pontiff at the presidential Ittihadya palace, giving him an official welcome, accompanied with a military band playing the national anthems of the Vatican and Egypt.

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Pope Francis gives speech at Al-Azhar - Egypt Today/Karim Abdel Aziz

The 80-year-old pontiff highlighted the sacrifice of members of the army and the police, the forced exodus of Christians from Sinai and the latest church bombings. Moreover, he stressed respect for human rights and religious freedoms.

The pope stressed, “it is essential to block the flow of money and weapons bound for those who promote violence, which purports to be carried out in the name of the Sacred.”


Following his speech at the hotel, local news outlets reported that Pope Tawadros II, head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, received Pope Francis at Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo's Abbassiya district.

Francis commended the efforts of Tawadros II, whom he called a brother, in organizing meetings between the Coptic Orthodox and Catholic churches.

Pope Francis and Pope Tawadros II signed a joint cooperation protocol of reiterating the fraternity between their churches.

"The tragic experiences and the bloodshed by our faithful who were persecuted and killed for the sole reason of being Christian, remind us all the more that the ecumenism of martyrdom unites us and encourages us along the way to peace and reconciliation," Pope Francis said during his speech at the church.

“The innocent blood of defenseless Christians was cruelly shed: their innocent blood unites us,” he added.

The visit marks the 70th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Egypt and the Vatican.
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