Pope Francis on Friday asked the Rohingya Muslim community for “forgiveness”, days after he mentioned their persecution in Myanmar in only a veiled manner, Reuters reported. “In the name of all of those who have persecuted you, hurt you, I ask forgiveness,” the pontiff said in Dhaka.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church is on a visit to Asia, where he was expected to make remarks against the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. During his visit to Myanmar on Tuesday, he did not talk about the matter specifically, and instead stressed on the importance of “unity in diversity”.

In Bangladesh, Pope Francis listened to the experiences shared by 16 Rohingya refugees who had fled the violence in Myanmar. “The presence of God today is also called ‘Rohingya’...I appeal to your large hearts to give us the forgiveness that we are asking.”

The refugees were brought to Dhaka from their camps in Cox’s Bazar to meet the Pope. Cox’s Bazar, near the border with Myanmar, is the site of thousands of refugee camps, where more than 6.2 lakh Rohingya Muslims have come since late August after facing violence and attacks in the North Rakhine state.