Pope Francis has on Sunday stated that it was wrong to identify Islam with terrorism, adding that only a minority of its faithful were fundamentalists.
The spiritual leader also blamed social injustice and global idolatry of money as some of the prime causes of terrorism.
The Pope, who spoke on the plane, while flying back from Poland to Rome, said: “I think it is not right to identify Islam with terrorism.
“It is not right and it is not true.”
“Terrorism grows when there is no other option, and as long as the world economy has at its center the god of money and not the person, “ the pope said, adding that “This is fundamental terrorism, against all humanity.”
The Pope’s statement is coming on the back of a question about links between Islam and recent terrorist attacks, particularly the killing on Tuesday of a priest in northern France by followers of Islamic State.
The Pope was in Poland from Wednesday to Sunday for World Youth Day, a week-long event attended by over a million pilgrims.
A day before he left, an elderly Catholic priest was killed in Northern France during Mass, in an attack that the Islamic State claimed responsibility.
He, however, said: “I believe that in every religion there is always a little fundamentalist group.”
“I don’t like to talk of Islamic violence because every day, when I go through the newspapers, I see violence, this man who girls his girlfriend, another who kills his mother-in-law,” Francis said, in apparent reference to crime news in predominantly Catholic Italy. “And these are baptized Catholics. If I speak of Islamic violence, then I have to speak of Catholic violence.”
“In Islam, not all are violent, not all the Catholics are violent. It’s like a fruit salad, everything’s in there.
Noting he has spoken with imams, he concluded: “I know how they think, they are looking for peace.”
As for ISIS, he said, the Islamic State group “presents itself with a violent identity card, but that’s not Islam.”