Pope Francis Visits Mosque in Bangui, Says Muslims And Christians Are Brother And Sisters
Pope Francis has visited a mosque in the capital of the Central African Republic, in what is being seen as the most difficult part of his Africa tour.
His visit to the mosque in the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), Bangui, was deeply symbolic and marked the highlight of his three-nation African tour, the Associated Press news agency reports.
His visit came despite concerns raised last week by French peacekeepers that it would be too dangerous for him to enter Bangui’s PK5 neighbourhood.
PK5 is surrounded by armed Christian militia, after nearly 122,000 Muslims were forced to leave the capital, except for about 15,000 left in the PK5 neighbourhood.
After meeting five local Muslim leaders, Francis address the crowd at the central Koudoukou mosque where he stated that Muslims and Christians are brothers, and must live together, Associated Press news agency reports.
In the ceremony intended to promote religious reconciliation, he said: “Together, we must say no to hatred, to revenge and to violence, particularly that violence which is perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God himself. God is peace, salam,” he added, using an Arabic word.
“Those who claim to believe in God must also be men and women of peace,” he said in the district of flimsy shacks and red dirt roads which has been at the heart of recent sectarian violence pitting mainly Muslim and Christian militias against each other, AFP reports.
The AFP news agency reports that in his address at the mosque in the Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui, the Pope said: “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters.”
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