Pope in Ankara, warns weapons not enough to stop ISIS

Commitment to peace and development, against hunger

28 November, 20:51

    Pope Francis in Turkey Pope Francis in Turkey

    (ANSAmed) - ANKARA - Pope Francis on Friday offered measured support for military action against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, reiterating that ''it's legitimate to stop an unjust aggressor''. He cautioned in meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, that international law must be complied with and that military means alone would not solve the problem.

    The pontiff stressed that joint action was required, ''based on mutual trust, which makes lasting peace possible and frees up resources to finally be allocated not only to weapons but also the true struggles of man: those against hunger and illness, for sustainable development and protection of God's creations, and to rescue those suffering from many forms of poverty and marginalization that continue to haunt even the modern world''.

    Pope Francis spoke out against continuing violence by terrorists in Iraq and Syria. ''We are seeing violations of the most basic of humanitarian laws against prisoners and entire ethnic groups,'' he said. ''We have seen, and continue to see,'' he added, ''persecutions of minority groups, especially but not only Christians and Yezidis. Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes and their homeland to save their own lives and remain faithful to their beliefs.''

     In dealing with the Syrian crisis, Turkey ''generously welcomes a large number of refugees'' and is directly affected by the ''dramatic situation along its borders, Pope Francis added. The international community has the moral obligation to help it take care of the refugees.'' 

    The pontiff also called for the ''solidarity of all believers'' to act as antidote against fanaticism and fundamentalism.  Inter-religious dialogue could ''ban every form of fundamentalism and terrorism, which deeply humiliates the dignity of all men and exploits religion for its own purposes''. To achieve the ''high, urgent'' goal of peace, he said, inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue could play a vital role. ''Against fanaticism, fundamentalism and the irrational fears that foster misunderstandings and discrimination we must employ the solidarity of all believers - who have as pillars respect for human life, religious freedom and the freedom to live in line with religious ethics - as well as efforts to ensure everyone has what they need to live with dignity and care for the natural environment,'' he said.

    Pope Francis said on Friday that any use of religion to condone violence should be strongly condemned. ''The Almighty is God of life and peace ,'' he said. ''The world expects all those who claim to adore Him to be men and women of peace, able to live like brothers and sisters despite ethnic, religious, cultural and ideological differences.'' (ANSAmed). 


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