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Pope to lead multi-faith 9/11 memorial at New York’s ‘Ground Zero’

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Pope Francis will attend an inter-faith event in September at New York’s “Ground Zero” site, to commemorate the victims of the 9/11 attacks, the Vatican announced Tuesday.

The visit to the former site of the iconic World Trade Center, destroyed when Islamists crashed planes into its twin towers on September 11, 2001, will be an attempt to unite religions in the fight against fanaticism.

The event is scheduled to take place on September 25, during the pope’s first visit to America.

Francis has repeatedly spoken out against violence in the name of religion, without naming the Al Qaeda or Islamic State groups.

On Tuesday the Vatican published the full programme of the Pope’s visit to Cuba and the US from September 19-28.

The Argentinian pontiff will arrive first in Cuba, following in the footsteps of his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI who visited Havana in 2012.

There he will hold meeting with officials, members of the clergy and local Catholics.

From there he will fly on September 22 to Andrews Air Force base near Washington.

After years of embargoes and mistrust, relations between Washington and Havana have been slowly thawing since December, in part due to the former pope’s visit.

A trio of US senators visiting Cuba’s capital on Saturday called for the reopening of full embassies in Havana and Washington.

Francis will visit President Barack Obama at the White House on September 23 before addressing the US Congress the following day.

He will then head to New York to visit the United Nations headquarters, and head the ‘Ground Zero’ commemoration on September 25.

His US itinerary will include meeting immigrants and homeless people as well as political and religious figures.

Before flying back to Rome on the 28th, Francis will visit the Holy See-sponsored World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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