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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis may travel to Bangladesh and Myanmar in November

On his return flight from Georgia and Azerbaijan, the pope announced his intention to visit Bangladesh and India. However, it appears that the slow organizational process in the latter country has resulted in Myanmar being selected instead. 

The chosen date will likely be toward the end of November. With this next visit to Asia, the pope will again travel to countries with very low Christian minorities. In Bangladesh, with a population of 163 million, only .3 percent are Catholic, whereas 90 percent are Muslim. In Burma, the vast majority of people practice Buddhism. Of nearly 52 million people, only five percent are Catholic, a number also similar to the country's Muslim population.

Myanmar's Muslim minority, the Rohingyas, are in the middle of a serious humanitarian crisis. Persecuted and displaced in their own country, they are victims of Myanmar's government and are not recognize as citizens. 

Pope Francis has lamented this situation on several occasions. The most recent of these was during the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking, the Feast of St. Josephine Bakita, which took place on February 8. 

“Many are tortured and killed, simply by living their traditions and Muslim faith. Let us pray for them, and I invite you to pray to Our Father in heaven for them.”

With this trip, he most likely wants to bring attention to a situation that can be described as ethnic cleansing. However, Myanmar's government and Nobel Peace Prize winner, San Suu Kyi, denies this situation.