Pope Francis, right, arrives for a meeting with representatives of Albania's Muslim, Orthodox and Catholic communities, at the Catholic University "Our Lady of Good Counsel" in Tirana, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino,Pool)
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Pope Francis warned during a visit to Albania on Sunday that religion can never be used to justify violence, making apparent reference to the bloodshed wreaked by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.The 77-year-old pontiff said majority-Muslim Albania was an "inspiring example" of religious harmony, as hundreds of thousands thronged the streets of the capital Tirana to greet him.The pontiff's 11-hour trip to Albania came at a sensitive time amid turmoil in the Middle East and rising intolerance in Europe.The Vatican has voiced unusual support for US air strikes in Iraq to defend persecuted Christians there.At the same time, the pope is spreading his message of interfaith tolerance around the world.The pontiff was also due to visit orphans before leaving Tirana at 1800 GMT.However, Albania's interior ministry said police had set up 29 checkpoints in downtown Tirana, where most of the pope's activities were taking place.
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