Dec 2, 2017

Pope Francis mentions Rohingya by name after backlash

Pope Francis arrives to celebrate mass and the ordination of new priests in Dhaka, Bangladesh, yesterday. Photo: Aijaz Rahi / AP

"[I]n Myanmar, where the military has launched ... a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslim minority, Francis opted [initially] for diplomatic expediency. He not only avoided the contested term 'Rohingya' in his public remarks, he ignored Asia's worst refugee crisis in decades entirely and didn't call out his hosts for launching it," AP's Nicole Winfield reports from Dhaka, Bangladesh:

  • "Human rights groups complained. Rohingya complained. Journalists and pundits asked if Francis' legacy as a fearless crusader for the world's most marginal ... wasn't now in question."
  • "By Friday, Francis' heart won out. In an emotional encounter with 16 Rohingya refugees, ... [his voice trembled] after he greeted the men, women and children who had been forced to flee their homes in Myanmar for wretched camps in Bangladesh."
  • "Francis begged them for forgiveness for what they had endured and the 'indifference of the world' to their plight."
  • His Holiness: "The presence of God today also is called 'Rohingya.'"

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