The Slatest

Pope Visits Mosque That Is Literally Right Now Besieged by Christians

United Nations peacekeepers on the grounds of the mosque visited by Pope Francis in Bangui, Central African Republic, in a photo taken Nov. 30, 2015.

Photo by Siegfried Modola/Reuters

There are a lot of headlines Monday about Pope Francis visiting a war zone and/or a mosque in a Central African Republic war zone. These headlines somehow understate the gravity of the situation at the mosque where the pontiff spoke. From the Guardian:

Under heavy UN and Vatican protection, Francis travelled in his open popemobile into the heart of PK5, where 15,000 Muslims are surrounded by Christian militias. Before the civil war erupted in March 2013, the Muslim population of the capital was about 122,000 but most have fled.

So, not just a mosque in a war zone—a mosque that is currently besieged by armed men who are ostensibly representing the pope’s own religion, and one (the Guardian says) that is currently housing some refugees from that violence. At which he announced that “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters.”

Here’s an armed U.N. peacekeeper on one of the mosque’s minarets during Francis’ visit:

Photo by Siegfried Modola/Reuters

Pope Francis is not messing around.