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Christians, Muslims Are Brothers, Pope Says in Flashpoint C. African District

Local Editor

Tasnim – Pope Francis Monday said Christians and Muslims were “brothers”, urging them to reject hatred on a visit to a mosque in a flashpoint Muslim neighborhood of the Central African Republic’s capital Bangui, on the most dangerous part of his 24-hour visit to the war-torn nation.

“Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters,” he said in an address at the central Koudoukou mosque in the PK5 district. “Those who claim to believe in God must also be men and women of peace.”

At the central Koudoukou mosque, he met with Muslim leaders and local residents of the PK5 district, a maze of red dirt roads and flimsy shacks at the heart of recent sectarian violence.

At the mosque, hundreds of people were waiting to meet him in a relaxed atmosphere despite the tight security with the visit taking place under the watchful eye of UN peacekeepers from the MINUSCA force, an AFP correspondent said.

After meeting five local Muslim leaders, Francis addressed the crowd in a ceremony intended to promote religious reconciliation.

Later Monday, he was to celebrate a huge mass at the capital’s 20,000-seat Barthelemy Boganda Stadium before wrapping up his three-nation Africa tour and flying back to Vatican City.

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