The Pope has hailed the election of Sadiq Khan as “Muslim” mayor of London, claimed mass Muslim migration is “necessary” for Europe, and blamed Paris and Brussels for the attacks on European soil.
In an interview with French newspaper La Croix, Pope Francis strongly implied that the terrorists who attacked Paris and Brussels did so because they “grew up in a ghetto.”
He also applauded the election of Muslim mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, stating it “illustrates the need for Europe to rediscover its capacity to integrate,” evoking “Pope Gregory the Great, who negotiated with the people known as barbarians who were subsequently integrated.”
However, the situation of mass Muslim migration that Europe now faces is distinctly different: the “barbarians” (the term referring in this case to Franks, Lombards and Visigoths) were Europeans, and did not follow a religion which historically, violently, conquered dozens of countries and preached supremacy.
Even today, the Muslim country Indonesia is currently committing what has been widely described as a genocide against Christian West Papuans with mass migration, violence and the banning of Papuan nationalism.
Pope Francis also claimed Europe’s declining birth rate is a “grave problem” that makes mass Muslim migration “necessary.” He described this “demographic emptiness” as a result of “a selfish search for well-being.”
The Pope stated that Muslims and Christians need to learn to live peacefully together, citing Lebanon as a good example of this. Though Lebanon is perhaps not the best illustration for the Pontiff to draw upon.
Lebanon was a majority Christian country up until the 1960s. In the 1970s, after an influx of Muslim refugees, tens of thousands of Christians were ethnically cleansed from the country.
Since 2005 there have been as many as 14 terrorist attacks a year in Lebanon, and the UK government’s travel advice on Lebanon advises against traveling to certain parts of the country as there is a “high threat from terrorism.”
Pope Francis criticised France’s “exaggeration” of the separation of church and state, expressing disapproval of the country’s ban on the niqab in public places. This type of veil has been banned in Muslim-majority countries Azerbaijan and Chad. Polls show the vast majority of people in Islamic countries, apart from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, widely disapprove of the garment.
Suggesting that the fear of migration in Europe is partly based on a fear of Islam, Pope Francis was asked whether he felt that such fears are justified. He said he didn’t think that “there is a fear of Islam as such but of [Islamic State] and its war of conquest, which is partly drawn from Islam.”
“It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest,” the Pope said.