Pope says it is wrong to equate Islam with violence

Rueters: * Pope condemned Islamic State insurgents during trip

* Says understands why Muslims are offended by stereotype

* Predecessor Pope Benedict caused uproar with 2006 speech (Recasts with comments from plane, changes dateline)

By Philip Pullella

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE, Nov 30 (Reuters) – Pope Francis said on Sunday that equating Islam with violence was wrong and called on Muslim leaders to issue a global condemnation of terrorism to help dispel the stereotype.

Francis, the leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, told reporters aboard his plane returning from a visit to Turkey that he understood why Muslims were offended by many in the West who automatically equated their religion with terrorism.

Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, caused storms of protest throughout the Islamic world in 2006, when he made a speech that suggested to many Muslims that he believed Islam espoused violence.

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