In Egypt, pope brings a message of peace amid crackdown


By NICOLE WINFIELD and HAMZA HENDAWI
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CAIRO (AP) – Pope Francis demanded that Egypt’s Muslim leaders train a rejection of violence in God’s identify throughout a fragile go to Friday to the Arab world’s most populous nation, and he strongly backed its uncompromising crackdown on political Islam and militancy.

Disregarding safety considerations after a collection of assaults by Islamic militants on Egypt’s Coptic Christians, Francis rode by way of Cairo in a easy blue Fiat together with his window rolled down – not the armored “popemobiles” of his predecessors.

And at each cease on his first day, he issued variations on the identical exhausting-hitting theme: “No civilized society may be constructed with out repudiating each ideology of evil, violence and extremism that presumes to suppress others and to annihilate variety by manipulating and profaning the sacred identify of God.”

Francis strongly backed the federal government’s response to the rising insurgency led by an area affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group, saying Egypt had a singular position in forging peace within the area and in “vanquishing all violence and terrorism.”

His foremost occasion was a landmark go to to Cairo’s Al-Azhar, the revered, 1,000-yr-previous seat of Sunni Islam studying that trains clerics and students from around the globe.

There, he warmly embraced Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Al-Azhar’s grand imam who hosted the pope and different senior Muslim and Christian leaders, college students and students at a peace convention in a corridor that includes a mock-up of the well-known Al-Azhar mosque, full with fake home windows and flooded with purple lights.

Francis reminded the gang that Egypt’s historic civilization valued the search for information and open-minded schooling, saying an identical dedication is required as we speak to fight the “barbarity” of spiritual extremism.

Whereas Al-Azhar has strongly condemned Islamic extremism, Egypt’s professional-authorities media has accused its management of failing to do sufficient to reform spiritual discourse and purge canonical books of outdated teachings and hatred for non-Muslims.

“As spiritual leaders, we’re referred to as to unmask violence that masquerades as purported sanctity,” Francis stated to applause. “Allow us to say as soon as extra a agency and clear ‘No’ to each type of violence, vengeance and hatred carried out within the identify of faith or within the identify of God.”



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