NNA – Pope Francis said on Thursday dialogue between religions in Africa was essential to teach young people that violence and hate in God’s name was unjustified, speaking in Kenya which has been the victim of a spate of Islamist militant massacres.
Bridging divisions between Muslims and Christians is a main theme of his first tour of the continent that also takes him to Uganda, which like Kenya has been victim of Islamist attacks, and the Central African Republic, riven by sectarian conflict.
“All too often, young people are being radicalised in the name of religion to sow discord and fear, and to tear at the very fabric of our societies,” the pope told Muslim and other religious leaders gathered in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. “Ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue is not a luxury. It is not something extra or optional, but essential,” he said at a morning meeting with about 25 religious leaders in the Vatican embassy here.
He stressed that God’s name “must never be used to justify hatred and violence.”
He referred to Somalia’s al Shabaab Islamists’ 2013 attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall and this year’s assault on Marissa university. Hundreds of people have been killed in the past two years or so, with Christians sometimes singled out by the gunmen behind the raids. — REUTERS