Pope Francis was criticized by the American Jewish Committee for comparing refugee centers in Europe with “concentration camps.”
On Saturday in St. Bartholomew’s Basilica, the pope addressed a group of migrants and spoke about a man he met in a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos last year.
“I don’t know if he managed to leave that concentration camp, because refugee camps, many of them, are of concentration (type) because of the great number of people left there inside them,” the pope said in Italian.
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) issued a statement urging the pope to reconsider his “regrettable” choice of words.
“The conditions in which migrants are currently living in some European countries may well be difficult, and deserve still greater international attention, but concentration camps they certainly are not,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
“The Nazis and their allies erected and used concentration camps for slave labor and the extermination of millions of people during World War II. There is no comparison to the magnitude of that tragedy,” he said.
Francis praised countries helping refugees and thanked them for “bearing this extra burden, because it seems that international accords are more important than human rights”.
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