Pope likens refugee centres to Nazi camps

Miranda GreerApr 24, 2017

Francis did not mention the nationality of the man, and added: "I don't know if [he] was able to leave that concentration camp".

He revealed that he had met the woman's husband and their three children during his visit to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos a year ago.

On April 11, White House press secretary Sean Spicer referred to concentration camps as "Holocaust centers" while clarifying an earlier claim that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons.

Calling the slain woman "another crown" among the modern martyrs, Francis used the occasion to decry the squalid conditions in migrant reception centers where people fleeing persecution and war found themselves to be locked and waiting for months while their applications are being processed by overstretched officials.

Pope Francis presides the Liturgy of the Word with the Community of St. Egidio in commemoration of the "New Martyrs" of the 20th and 21th Century at San Bartolomeo Basilica in Rome, on April 22, 2017.

"Departing from his prepared homily, Francis recounted how he was touched when past year, during a visit to a migrant detention facility in Lesbos, Greece, a Muslim father of three told him that his Christian wife had her throat slit when 'terrorists came. and asked what our religion was'".

According to Reuters, the Pope said that many such refugee camps had become similar to concentration camps - used by the Nazis during World War II to execute millions of Jews - because of "the great number of people left there inside them".

Francis took some of the Lesbos refugees with him aboard his plane back to Italy.

"We respectfully urge the Pope to reconsider his regrettable choice of words", said Harris.

"If every municipality in Italy took in just two migrants there would be a place for everyone", he said. Humanitarian groups have criticized both deals.

The Vatican's web site said Francis was speaking off the cuff when he said the refugee camps are like "concentration camps, while worldwide agreements seem to be more important than human rights". "Quite the contrary, her history has been greatly determined by encounters with other peoples and cultures; hers is, and always has been, a dynamic and multicultural identity", the pontiff said in March, addressing the heads of 27 European Union member states as they were celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1957 Treaty of Rome.

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