In a gesture of welcome amid rising anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment, Pope Francis has visited a refugee centre to wash and kiss the feet of Muslim, Orthodox, Hindu and Catholic refugees, it has been reported.
The move by Pope Francis comes as anti-Muslim sentiment has further spiked following coordinated attacks in Brussels which followed months after deadly attack in Paris.
Francis celebrated the traditional Easter Week foot-washing ceremony at a refugee shelter in Castelnuovo di Porto, outside Rome.
In his homily, delivered off-the-cuff in the windy courtyard of the center, Francis said “We have different cultures and religions, but we are brothers and we want to live in peace.”
Francis quoted in a report by Newsweek further added “Three days ago, there was a gesture of war, of destruction, in a city of Europe by people who don’t want to live in peace.”
“Behind that gesture there were arms manufacturers, arms traffickers, who want blood, not peace, who want war, not brotherhood,” he said.
Around 892 asylum seekers are currently living at the shelter but only a fraction of them attended the ceremony while others milled around nearby and filmed the event on their smartphones.
According to reports, the refugees came from Mali, Nigeria, Eritrea, India, Syria and Pakistan.K-P
THE PASHTUN TIMES