Islam and Christianity share an inherent “idea of conquest”, and those who refer to Europe’s roots as Christian often veer into colonialism, Pope Francis said in a wideranging interview about the the migration crisis and the ability of Christians and Muslims to live together harmoniously.
Speaking to the French Catholic newspaper La Croix, the Argentinian pope also hailed the election of Sadiq Khan in London, saying that a Muslim mayor personified the idea of integration within Europe.
The pope said it was “fair and responsible” to ask whether Europe had the capacity to accept millions of refugees from the Middle East and Africa. But he said it was more important to ask why there were so many, pointing to war, the unfettered free market, unemployment, the arms trade, underinvestment in Africa and income inequality.
He appeared to reject any link between Islamic extremism within Europe and Islam itself. Instead, he condemned the way in which migrants were “ghettoised” rather than integrated into society.
“In Brussels, the terrorists were Belgians, children of migrants, but they grew up in a ghetto. In London, the new mayor took his oath of office in a cathedral and will undoubtedly meet the Queen. This illustrates the need for Europe to rediscover its capacity to integrate.”