Pope Francis says it was wrong to identify Islam with violence and that social injustice and idolatry of money were among the prime causes of terrorism.
“It is not right to identify Islam with violence,” he told reporters. “This is not right and this is not true.”
Francis was responding to a question about an 85-year-old Catholic priest who was forced to his knees by attackers, who then slit his throat. The attack was claimed by Islamic State.
“I think in nearly all religions there is a small fundamentalist group,” he said. “We have them,” he added, referring to Catholicism.
“I don’t like to talk about Islamic violence because every day when I look at the papers I see violence here in Italy – someone killing his girlfriend, someone killing his mother-in-law. These are baptised Catholics,” he said.
“If I speak of Islamic violence, I have to speak of Catholic violence. Not all Muslims are violent,” he said.
He said there were various causes of terrorism.
“I know it is dangerous to say this but terrorism grows when there is no other option and when money is made a god and it, instead of the person, is put at the centre of the world economy,” he said.
“That is the first form of terrorism. That is a basic terrorism against all humanity. Let’s talk about that,” he said.