The Latest: Pope calls Myanmar refugees by Rohingya name - InfoNews

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The Latest: Pope calls Myanmar refugees by Rohingya name

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, left, meets Pope Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)
December 01, 2017 - 4:51 AM

DHAKA, Bangladesh - The Latest on Pope Francis' visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh (all times local):

6:50 p.m.

Pope Francis has asked for forgiveness from Rohingya Muslim refugees for all the hurt they have endured, and pronounced the word "Rohingya" that he had so assiduously avoided only days earlier in Myanmar.

In a deeply moving encounter Friday, Francis greeted and blessed a group of Rohingya refugees, grasping their hands and listening to their stories in a show of public solidarity. He apologized for the "indifference of the world" to their plight and then pronounced their ethnic group's name.

He said: "The presence of God today is also called 'Rohingya.'"

The Rohingya travelled to Dhaka from Cox's Bazar, the district bordering Myanmar where refugee camps are overflowing with more than 620,000 Rohingya who have fled what the U.N. says is a campaign of ethnic cleansing by Myanmar's military. Myanmar does not recognize Rohingya as an ethnic group and calls them "Bengalis."

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6:05 p.m.

Pope Francis has greeted and blessed Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled to Bangladesh from neighbouring Myanmar, grasping their hands and listening to their stories at an interfaith peace prayer in Dhaka.

The 16 Rohingya — 12 men, two women and two young girls — travelled to Dhaka from Cox's Bazar, the district bordering Myanmar where refugee camps are overflowing with more than 620,000 Rohingya who have fled what the U.N. says is a campaign of ethnic cleansing by Myanmar.

One by one, each one of the refugees approached the pope at the end of Friday's event. Francis grasped their hands and listened intently as they recounted their experiences to him, through an interpreter.

He blessed one little girl, placing his hand on her head, and grasped the shoulder of a young man.

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5:10 p.m.

Pope Francis has traded his popemobile for a rickshaw.

Francis waved to crowds from the backseat of one of Bangladesh's typical bicycle-pulled carts en route Friday to a meeting of interfaith leaders at the residence of Dhaka's archbishop.

Bangladeshi dancers serenaded him as he made his way to the stage for the event, where he was to meet with Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

Francis has shunned the bullet-proof popemobiles of his predecessors, opting instead for open-sided vehicles so he can personally greet the crowds when he goes on foreign trips. In South Asia, that has meant a few spins in modified golf carts.

Francis isn't the first pope to ride a rickshaw, however. St. John Paul II rode in one when he visited Bangladesh in 1986.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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