posted at 19:50
Author Name: Stuart Williams and Jean-Louis de la Vaissiere
Pope urges Muslim leaders to condemn Islamist terror
Francis attacked those who say "All Muslims are terrorists", adding: "As we cannot say that all Christians are fundamentalists." In a rare joint plea, the pope and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I spoke out against anti-Christian violence, saying the world could not stand by and allow "a Middle East without Christians." "We cannot resign ourselves to a Middle East without Christians, who have professed the name of Jesus there for two thousand years," the Church leaders said. The Argentine leader of the world's Catholics denounced what he termed the current wave of "Christianophobia" in the Middle East, accusing Islamist radicals of "Hunting" Christians while certain officials acted as if "They did not want any left in these countries". The pope's trip to Istanbul - once the capital of the Christian Byzantine world and formerly known as Constantinople - was marked by his overtures to Muslims and other Christian confessions. On the final day of his first visit to Turkey, Francis urged an end to the millennium-old schism between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches and said this was all the more urgent due to the violence against Christians by Islamic State extremists. He echoed the pope's comments that the violence against Christians had made this more pressing. Turkey's Christian community is tiny - just 80,000 in a country of some 75 million Muslims - and only a small proportion of these are Catholics.

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