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Pope visits Rome synagogue, condemns violence in name of religion

"The violence of man against man is in contradiction with any religion worthy of this name, in particular the three great monotheistic religions," the pontiff said referring to recent attacks by Islamist militants

Pope Francis on Sunday, for the first time during his pontificate, visited Rome's main synagogue, from where he said "that the violence of man against man runs counter to any religion."

As his two predecessors had done - Pope John Paul II in April 1986 and Benedict XVI exactly six years ago - Francis on Sunday came to Rome's Jewish quarter, which witnessed massive deportations in 1943 and also a 1982 terrorist attack by Palestinian commandos that took the life of a two-year-old boy.

"The violence of man against man is in contradiction with any religion worthy of this name, in particular the three great monotheistic religions," the pontiff said referring to recent attacks by Islamist militants.

"Conflicts, wars, violence and injustices open deep wounds in humanity that call on us to strengthen or commitment to peace and justice," he said. "Neither violence nor death will ever have the last word before God."

With this visit, Francis asked Christians and Jews to form an alliance to confront the world's great challenges, including ecological issues and violence.

"Every human being, as a creature of God, is our brother, independent of his origin or his (religion)," Francis said.

He also noted that the Jewish people "experienced violence and persecution ... during the Holocaust," adding that "six million people, just because they belonged to the Jewish faith, were the victims of the most inhuman barbarism perpetrated in the name of an ideology that wanted to replace God with man."