Pope Francis just returned from World Youth Day in Poland Sunday, when he addressed Islamophobia and called on others to stop associating Islam with violence.
“I think it is not right to identify Islam with violence,” he told reporters, according to Reuters. “This is not right and this is not true.”
The response came after a question about the July 26 attackers who burst into a French church, forced a priest to his knees and slit his throat. The attack was later claimed by ISIS.
“I think that in nearly all religions there is always a small fundamentalist group,” he said, admitting that even Catholicism has them.
“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 baptized Catholics,” he said. “If I speak of Islamic violence, I have to speak of Catholic violence. Not all Muslims are violent.”
He argued that terrorism flourishes among poverty and instability. “I know it 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 center of the world economy,” he said.
“That is the first form of terrorism,” he continued. “That is a basic terrorism against all humanity. Let’s talk about that.”
“I ask myself how many young people that we Europeans have left devoid of ideals, who do not have work. Then they turn to drugs and alcohol or enlist in ISIS,” he closed.