Pope Francis said he would not identify Islam with “terrorism” because that would be unfair and not true, reports the Associated Press.
“It’s not right to identify Islam with violence. It’s not right and it’s not true,” Pope Francis told reporters mid-flight on his return from Poland July 31 after partaking in World Youth Day celebrations.
The pope was responding to a question on why he didn’t describe the murder of elderly French priest on July 26 by two supporters of the so-called Islamic State as Islamic terrorism.
“I believe that in every religion there is always a little fundamentalist group,” the pope said.
“I don’t like to talk of Islamic violence because every day, when I go through the newspapers (in Italy), I see violence, this man who kills his girlfriend, another who kills his mother-in-law,” he said.
“And these are baptized Catholics. If I speak of Islamic violence, then I have to speak of Catholic violence,” he explained.
“In Islam, not all are violent, not all the Catholics are violent. It’s like a fruit salad, everything’s in there.”
The pontiff said he speaks with Muslim clergy. “I know how they think, they are looking for peace.”
As for the Islamic State, the pope said it “presents itself with a violent identity card, but that’s not Islam,” reported Associated Press.