The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has named Pope Francis as its number one enemy and has criticized the Catholic Church leader for pursuing "dialogue with moderate Islam."
In its monthly publication Dabiq, ISIS described Pope Francis as a "non-believer" and accused him of defending homosexuals. The terror group previously released a video illustrating the end of the world, which suggests that the group is planning to assassinate the pontiff, The Express reports.
Despite the threats from ISIS, Pope Francis previously refused to heed advice to wear a bulletproof vest because he did not want to lose contact with the people. The threat prompted the Vatican to ramp up security around the city.
In the latest rant from ISIS, the militant group slammed the Pope for "seeking dialogue with moderate Islam" including Arab preacher Ahmed al-Tayeb of the Islamic university Al-Azhar in Cairo, Egypt. The Islamic State accused the imam of apostasy and criticized him for calling Christianity a "faith of love and peace."
Meanwhile, Chaldean Patriarch Mar Louis Raphaël Sako told Asia News that the threats against Pope Francis are part of the group's propaganda to pressure the West. He explained that ISIS does not understand the difference between the secular state and Christianity, which is represented by the Vatican.
"They have in mind a plan for a theocratic nation, based on Islam, mixed with basic ignorance," Patriarch Sako said. "They believe that Christians have a theocratic state, which is the Vatican."
The Chaldean Patriarch thinks that Pope Francis is not ISIS' real target as the threats are mainly for their political objectives. However, he said the situation of the imam of al-Azhar is different because he can be considered as a direct target.
In light of the situation, Patriarch Sako urged Muslims to "take a courageous and clear position." He also acknowledged that jihadists like the ISIS have no links with religion and their teachings are merely words taken out of context. The Chaldean leader also encouraged people to unite in defeating ISIS.