Ending his three-nation Africa tour under intense security, Francis passed through a no-man’s zone to enter PK5, a district where most Muslims who have not fled Central African Republic’s capital Bangui have now sought refuge. He later celebrated Mass in the national stadium before flying back to Rome.
The PK5 neighborhood has been cut off from the rest of the city for the past two months by a ring of so-called anti-balaka Christian militias, who block supplies from entering and Muslims from leaving.
A heavy deployment of United Nations peacekeepers with rifles and bullet-proof vests was present throughout PK5 and armored vehicles mounted with machine guns were positioned along the route of Pope Francis’ motorcade.
U.N. sharpshooters looked out from the tops of the minarets crowning the freshly repainted green and white mosque, where hundreds of PK5’s Muslims listened as Francis made an impassioned appeal for an end to the violence.
“Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters,” he said after a speech by Imam Tidiani Moussa Naibi, one of the local religious leaders trying to foster dialogue.
“Those who claim to believe in God must also be men and women of peace,” he said, noting that Christians, Muslims and followers of traditional religions had lived together in peace for many years.
He appealed for “an end to every act which, from whatever side, disfigures the face of God and whose ultimate aim is to defend particular interests by any and all means.”
“Together, we must say no to hatred, to revenge and to violence, particularly that violence which is perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God himself. God is peace, ‘salam,'” the pope said, using the Arabic word for peace.
“The relationship between our Christian brothers and sisters and ourselves is so deep that no maneuver seeking to undermine it will succeed,” he told the pope.
“The Christians and Muslims of this country are obliged to live together and love each other.”
Editor Note: Apparently the only thing that the Pope forgot to mention is that Islam is a creation of the Catholic Church, and in the long run this was ideally the plan. With such great animosity between the Christians and the Muslims, a lot of focus is given to Islam as a part of the end times prophecy. But then again, this one Pope has literally made more progress in uniting Christians and Muslims than any other Pope.
Creating Chrislam, a unification of these very opposite faiths seems to be a key agenda of the Pope and something that will clearly bring out a new world order. One religion under the banner of the Pope in the name of peace. But is it worth it?