Pope calls on Muslims not to abuse God’s name

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Monday, May 26, 2014


JERUSALEM — Pope Francis urged Monday the Muslim community to never abuse God's name through violence as he opened the third and final day of his Mideast pilgrimage with a visit to the Dome of the Rock, the iconic shrine located at the third-holiest spot in Islam.

Speaking to the grand mufti of Jerusalem and other Muslim authorities, Francis deviated from his prepared remarks to refer not just to his "dear friends" but "dear brothers."

Mideast Pope
Pope Francis embraces Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I as they meet outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem's Old City, Sunday, May 25, 2014. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where the pope met Bartholomew I in the central event of his Holy Land trip, marks the spot where Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. (AP Photo)


"May we respect and love one another as brothers and sisters," he said.

"May we learn to understand the suffering of others! May no one abuse the name of God through violence!" he added.

Francis took off his shoes to step into the gold-topped dome, which enshrines the rock where Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammad ascended to heaven.

The mosque complex, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, is at the heart of the territorial and religious disputes between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

After the brief visit, Francis headed to the Western Wall, the only remains of the biblical Second Temple and the place where Jews can pray. (AP)

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