Pope Francis asks Rohingya Muslims for forgiveness

Pope Francis has asked for forgiveness from Rohingya Muslim refugees for all of the hurt they have endured.

The pontiff, who is on a trip to Asia, also used the term “Rohingya” for the first time. He had avoided saying the word days earlier when in Myanmar.

Francis greeted and blessed a group of Rohingya refugees, holding their hands and listening to their stories in a show of solidarity.

He apologised for the “indifference of the world” to their plight and then said their ethnic group’s name.

The pope said: “The presence of God today is also called ‘Rohingya’.”

In recent months, more than 620,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state to Bangladesh amid a police crackdown, which the UN has described as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

Many in Myanmar reject the term “Rohingya” and instead refer to the group as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

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