Pope Francis
Pope Francis Uri Lenz/POOL/Flash 90

Just days after he called for “dialogue” with the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group, Pope Francis on Friday condemned the group and called for interfaith cooperation in order to combat it, Reuters reports.

The pope, who is visiting Turkey, said that "an extremist and fundamentalist group" had subjected entire communities in Turkey's southern neighbors to "barbaric violence simply because of their ethnic and religious identity."

Islamic State insurgents have persecuted Shiite Muslims, Christians and others who do not share their ultra-radical brand of Sunni Islam as they carved a self-declared caliphate out of swathes of Syria and Iraq.

After meeting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan the pope said it was lawful to stop an unjust aggressor but urged a concerted commitment to devote resources "not to weaponry, but to the other noble battles worthy of man -- the fight against hunger and sickness".

He called for inter-religious dialogue to end of all forms of fundamentalism and terrorism, and stressed the importance of freedom of religion and of expression.

"It is essential that all citizens - Muslim, Jewish and Christian - both in the provision and practice of the law, enjoy the same rights and respect the same duties," the pope said,  according to Reuters.

He said the world "could not remain indifferent" to the causes of the tragedies in the Middle East and appeared to indicate military action could be permitted with the proper legal backing.

For his part, Erdogan called for measures to prevent "escalating racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia in the West," adding "the racist perception which associates Islam with terrorism deeply hurts billions of Muslims around the world".

ISIS has made clear that it is waging a war on Christianity, noting that Rome is a key target for conquest as the home of the Vatican and a core symbol of Christianity.

In September, the Vatican had to increase security over intelligence reports of a possible ISIS attack on Pope Francis.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)