Pope pulls punches in Rohingya appeal

World | 30 Nov 2017

Pope Francis urged Burma's Buddhist clergy to conquer prejudice and hatred yesterday in a carefully worded appeal to monks in a country facing scrutiny over its persecution of the Muslim Rohingya.

Some extremist Buddhist monks have spewed anti-Muslim hate speech in Burma for years, helping to harden attitudes toward Rohingya Muslims.

Francis urged the country's highest Buddhist body - the Sangha - to help tackle intolerance and hatred.

"If we are to be united, as is our purpose, we need to surmount all forms of misunderstanding, intolerance, prejudice and hatred," he said, sitting across from a row of monks in a temple complex in Rangoon.

The Catholic leader is on a four-day trip and has refrained from directly weighing-in on the Rohingya crisis, instead chosing the deliberate language of tolerance and forgiveness.

Domestic views on the Rohingya crisis veer sharply from the international take on a humanitarian catastrophe that has sent 620,000 people fleeing to Bangladesh.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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