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Dec 6, 8:03 AM EST

Pope, translator cite "Rohingya" repeatedly after silence

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AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

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VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Francis is making up for his silence about the Rohingya refugee crisis while in Myanmar: During his general audience Wednesday, Francis or his translator cited the "Rohingya" by name at least a half-dozen times, in a variety of languages.

Francis had refrained from mentioning "Rohingya" while in Myanmar, at the urging of the local Burmese church. Myanmar doesn't recognize the Muslim minority as an ethnic group.

But Francis broke his silence once he arrived in Bangladesh, meeting with refugees and telling them: "The presence of God today also is called 'Rohingya.'"

On Wednesday, Francis said he wanted to show solidarity with Bangladesh for its commitment "to rescuing Rohingya refugees who are arriving en masse on its territory, which already has one of the highest population densities in the world."

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