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The Pope used the word Rohingya while addressing a group of refugees

He is wrapping up a trip to both Myanmar and Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh CNN  — 

Pope Francis referred to the Rohingya people by name on Friday, the first time he has directly addressed Myanmar’s persecuted Muslim minority in his Asia tour.

“The presence of God today is also called Rohingya,” the Pope said after speaking to an interfaith audience in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka.

He did not use the term in public earlier in the week in Myanmar, to the dismay of campaigners for the Rohingya, whose stories of escaping violence in the country have provoked international condemnation. Friday is the final full day of his trip.

After his speech, the Pope met a group of Rohingya refugees one by one, giving some of them blessings and listening to the stories of others.

Pope Francis meets Rohingya Muslim refugees.

“Your tragedy is very hard, very big. We give you space in our hearts,” the Pope said. “In the name of everyone, of those who persecute you, those who hurt you, and especially of the world’s indifference, I ask for your forgiveness. Forgive us.”

“Many of you talked to me about the great heart of Bangladesh, which offered you refuge. Now I appeal to your heart to give us the forgiveness we are asking from you,” he told the group of refugees after meeting them.

Pope Francis shakes hands with Rohingya refugees during an interreligious and ecumenical meeting for peace on Friday in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

More than 620,000 Rohingya have fled across the border from Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh since a spate of violence began in August. Many say they were forced to flee atrocities committed by the Myanmar military.

Myanmar’s government does not use the term Rohingya to refer to the group. It considers the Rohingya people to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, even though some families have lived in Myanmar for centuries. The Rohingya are not recognized as an official minority in Myanmar, effectively meaning they are denied citizenship.