Pope Francis slammed on migrant remarks
ROMEPope Francis has been accused of encouraging illegal immigration after he condemned global indifference toward refugees in his visit to the Italian island of Lampedusa this week.
The pope called for an end to worldwide indifference to the plight of refugees on July 8 on a visit to an Italian island where tens of thousands of migrants from Africa and the Middle East reach Europe. Francis’s remarks, which were hailed by humanitarian organizations, were sharply criticized by members of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PDL) party and by the anti-immigration Northern League, according to British daily The Telegraph.
“I’d be happy if one of the boats sank,” said Erminio Boso, a hard-line member of the Northern League. “I don’t give a toss for what the Pope said.” Fabrizio Cicchitto, a senior member of Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party, said there was a danger that the Pope’s remarks would encourage “dangerous and irregular” immigration run by criminal gangs of people traffickers. Daniela Santanche, a staunch ally of Berlusconi and a deputy in his party, accused center-left politicians of using the Pope’s remarks to whip up a row over the treatment of refugees.
“[They] manipulate the mission of faith and brotherhood of the Holy Father [...] Shame on them,” she said.