Pope Francis slams 'deviant forms of religion' after Charlie Hebdo attack
A Sri Lankan policeman stands guard as front of the billboard bearing the image of Pope Francis in Wattala on January 12, 2015 ahead of the pontiff's visit (AFP)

Pope Francis on Monday slammed "deviant forms of religion" following deadly attacks by Islamist militants in France last week which left 17 people dead.

"Losing their freedom, people become enslaved, whether to the latest fads, or to power, money, or even deviant forms of religion," he said, laying the blame on "a culture of rejection" which leads to "the breakdown of society and spawning violence and death."

"We see painful evidence of this in the events reported daily in the news, not least the tragic slayings which took place in Paris a few days ago," he said in his yearly speech to the members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See.