Pope Francis criticised Western powers for trying to export their own brand of democracy to countries such as Iraq and Libya without respecting indigenous political cultures, according to an interview published on last week.
Speaking to France’s Roman Catholic newspaper, La Croix, Francis also said Europe should better integrate migrants and praised the election of the new Muslim mayor of London as an example of where this had been successful. “Faced with current Islamist terrorism, we should question the way a model of democracy that was too Western was exported to countries where there was a strong power, as in Iraq, or Libya, where there was a tribal structure,” he said.
“We cannot advance without taking these cultures into account,” the pope said.
As a Libyan said recently, ‘we used to have one Gaddafi, now we have fifty”, Francis said in reference to former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who was deposed and killed in 2011. Francis has frequently attacked what he calls “cultural colonialism”, in which Western countries seek to impose their values on developing ones in return for financial aid. The pope said that “ghettoising” migrants was not only wrong but was also misguided in the fight against terrorism.
Pope Francis celebrates a mass of Pentecost in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican May 15, 2016. REUTERS/Tony Gentile