Pope Francis Hails Muslims as 'Sons of Abraham'
Head of Catholic Church promotes 'inter-faith brotherhood' during Islamic state tour
Pope Francis has hailed Muslims as the "sons of Abraham," following his controversial visit Morocco.
Update: An earlier version of this story suggested that Pope Francis had compared Christians to fungus. This is not accurate. The passage quoted by Pope Francis referred to when Jesus discusses the nature of the Kingdom of God by saying “It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened” (Luke 13:18.21). We have updated our headline to remove this reference.
The head of the Catholic Church made the provocative remarks while visiting the North African nation with a 99 percent Muslim majority.
On Sunday, the Pope said God sees the flock of Moroccan Christians promoting his idea of "inter-faith brotherhood," before defending his recent tour of Muslim states.
Pope Francis also warned Catholics in Morocco not to attempt to convert Muslims to Christianity, as he addressed a large crowd of his followers.
Speaking to a crowd of roughly 400 Christian followers, Francis issued the warning during an address at St. Peter's Cathedral in Rabat, Morocco.
During the March 31 speech, in which the pope also discussed the rights of migrants and promoted open borders, the pope urged Christians to unite with Muslims, before he warned: "Please, no proselytism!"
Trying to convert people to Christianity "always leads to an impasse," said the head of the 1.3 billion-member church, as reported by Agence France-Presse.
As he spoke from the Vatican about his trip to Morocco last weekend during his weekly general audience on Wednesday, the pope defended his celebration of Islamic nations, saying:
“Some may ask, ‘But why does the pope visit the Muslims and not only the Catholics?’”
“With Muslims, we are descendants of the same father, Abraham,” he explained.
“What God wants is fraternity between us in a special way,” he added, noting that this was the motive behind his travels to Arab states.
Pope Francis, who previously shocked Catholics around the world by holding an Islamic prayer and Quran recital in the Vatican, has history when it comes to disregarding Biblical teaching in favor of pushing a contemporary liberal ideology.
In a joint declaration on Sunday, Pope Francis and Morocco's King Mohammed VI signed the "Jerusalem Pact."
The two leaders described the pact as a "symbol of peaceful coexistence" for Christians, Jews, and Muslims, according to DW.
Jerusalem was "common patrimony of humanity and especially the followers of three monotheistic religions," an official statement read.
"The specific multi-religious character, the spiritual dimension and the particular cultural identity of Jerusalem … must be protected and promoted," the statement added.
Pope Francis has used his two-day trip to push inter-faith dialogue with Islamic leaders.
He has also backed Moroccan King Mohammed VI’s efforts to spread a form of Islam that promotes inter-religious dialogue and rejects violence in God’s name.
"[T]he Pope also stressed the need for inter-religious dialogue, saying people should resist 'classifying ourselves according to different moral, social, ethnic or religious criteria,'" reported Reuters.