As Pope Francis endeavors to foster interfaith understanding by allowing Islamic prayers and readings from the Quran in the Vatican and himself praying in what is known as “The Blue Mosque” in Istanbul, he may be forced to face the stark reality of radical Islam as it targets him for assassination.

The Pope, spiritual leader of 1.3 billion believers, has made attempts to engage with Muslims through friendship and understanding, which he considers essential to achieve peace.

Muslim leaders have praised Pope Francis, who became the head of the Catholic Church in 2013, as being “pro-dialogue.”

However, following raids in the Italian cities of Brescia, Perugia and Vicenza, and in the neighboring country of Kosovo, police announced the arrests of four members of a gang of Islamic jihadists who made threats against the life of Pope Francis.

“It is essential that all citizens – Muslim, Jewish and Christian – both in the provision and practice of the law, enjoy the same rights and respect the same duties.
They will then find it easier to see each other as brothers and sisters who are traveling the same path, seeking always to reject misunderstandings while promoting cooperation and concord.”

Police said the arrests were made after a coordinated anti-terror sweep by authorities in both countries.

The four have been charged with spreading jihadist propaganda online through social media and making threats against a former United States ambassador to Kosovo, as well as against the Pope.

One online threat read: “This will be the last Pope.”

The gang of would-be assassins also used its online presence to praise the terror attacks in Paris on November 13, which killed 130 and injured hundreds more in simultaneous attacks throughout the French capital.

Police spokesman Carmine Esposito told reporters on Tuesday that the radicals had links to jihadists in Syria.

The so-called “mastermind” of the group may have lived in Italy before his arrest in Kosovo, but the three other members were said to have been living in Italy, the home of the Vatican and the Papal residence “for some time” according to authorities familiar with the police operation.

SOURCE: JihadWatch

IMG: Wikicommons

 

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