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Pope Francis calls Rohingya by name

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 12/01/17, 11:03 am

Pope Francis on Friday changed his stance and called the Rohingya by name as he spoke with them at an interfaith peace prayer in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital city. Francis offered blessings and listened to the stories of more than a dozen Rohingya Muslim refugees, apologizing to them for the “indifference of the world” to their plight. “The presence of God today is also called ‘Rohingya,’” he said. More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar, also known as Burma, into neighboring Bangladesh after the Myanmar military in August launched a clearance operation the United Nations calls “ethnic cleansing.” Myanmar denies the Rohingya citizenship rights and calls them Bengali immigrants. During a visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh that began Monday, the pope called the Rohingya “refugees from Rakhine state.” The Vatican had said the pope took seriously the advice of Myanmar’s Catholic Church, which implored him earlier not to use the name Rohingya to avoid backlash from Myanmar’s military.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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