In a press conference Sunday, Pope Francis appeared to suggest that all religions are equally prone to violence and that Islam and Christianity are the same in this regard. When asked by a journalist about the “barbarous assassination of Fr. Jacques Hamel” in northern France who was clearly “killed in the name of Islam” last Tuesday, the Pope replied that he doesn’t like speaking about Islamic violence because there is plenty of Christian violence as well. The Pope asserted that he knows how Muslims think, and that deep down they desire peace and harmony just as Christians do.
The same journalist then inquired what the solution for the current situation might be according to the pontiff. “To be quite honest, I have invested a lot of time and effort into understanding how the Muslim mind works,” the Pope said. “And truth be told, deep down I don’t believe any of them seek war and crimes and violence. However, the situation today is much different than it should be, and it’s a perfectly logical question why that is. In my mind, it has a lot to do with poverty.”
“Poverty is the number one cause of terrorism and jihad, I would say,” the Pope further elaborated on his theory. “Because, when you can’t afford the essential goods you need to survive every day, when you don’t have food or water or clothes to put on you back, that causes a lot of discontent and rage. And those are the kind of people terrorists pray on, because they also know how their mind works and they know that if they give them some clothes, food, and most importantly, a gun, they will be able to mold their mind to perform atrocities and crime. So, it all stems from lacking the basic means to live.”
The pontiff then called for “worldwide funding of Muslim countries” that is to be initiated by several of the most developed First World countries, notably the United States of America. “I hereby call upon the developed countries of the world to set aside their differences and their warmongering and their war profits. I call upon them to realize that there might be another way to stop terrorism; a peaceful way that does not have to claim lives. And that way requires money and food and drugs and clothes and countless other things that the poor people of Muslim countries require badly. This is the way of generosity and forgiveness, not of anger and revenge.”
“Furthermore, I believe the United States of America is a country that must lead the way by virtue of example and shine a light on the path that many of us have forgotten,” he added. “Because this is a country that has suffered greatly at the hands of Muslim radical extremists, it is they who should make the first step and a leap of faith towards a new era between religions and nations. If the U.S agrees to create a joint fund that would aim to alleviate poverty in Muslim countries primarily located throughout the Middle East, I believe that is a step that would demonstrate the seriousness of this project.”
“Plus, it’s only fair that Americans pay up first, since they’re the ones who started this whole mess by invading Iraq,” the Pope added. “It’s not fair that Europe and other countries should pay the price for the ‘We’re Americans, so we’re allowed to do anything’ attitude.”