Pope Francis has said that he wept as he greeted 16 members of Burma’s Rohingya minority who had found shelter in Bangladesh.

“I was crying, but tried to hide it,” he told reporters on his flight back to Rome last Saturday. “They were crying too.”

In a spontaneous address the Pope said that, while each human being was created in the image and likeness of God, often people desecrated that image with violence.

“Today, the presence of God is also called ‘Rohingya’. They, too, are images of the living God,” Pope Francis said at the gathering, attended by Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu leaders in Dhaka.

“Dear brothers and sisters,” he told the crowd, “let us show the world what its selfishness is doing to the image of God.

“Let’s keep helping” the Rohingya, he said. “Let’s continue working so their rights are recognised. Let’s not close our hearts. Let’s not look away.”

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