Assisi, Italy, Aug 5, 2016 / 16:09 pm America/Denver (CNA).
During his visit to Assisi Thursday, Pope Francis had a brief, unscheduled meeting with the imam of Perugia, Abdel Qader Mohammed, who thanked the Roman Pontiff for his recent statement that true Islam is not a religion of violence, but of peace.
Pope Francis met briefly with Mohammed during his Aug. 4 visit to the Porziuncola inside the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels.
According to San Francesco, the official magazine of the Franciscans in Assisi, Mohammed thanked Pope Francis for statements he made during his July 31 papal flight to Rome where he affirmed, in Mohammed's words, “that Islam is not a religion of terrorism, but a faith of peace.”
When asked by a French journalist during the flight whether or not Islam as a whole can be considered a violent religion, the Pope responded that “I do not believe it is right to identify Islam with violence…This is not right and it is not true.”
“I don’t like to speak about Islamic violence,” he said, noting that while “one can speak of the so-called ISIS,” it is "an Islamic state which presents itself as violence.”