Pope Francis is decrying those whipping up fear of migrants for political gain, ahead of World Peace Day.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is decrying those whipping up fear of migrants for political gain, and is urging people to view global migration as a peace-building opportunity and not as a threat.

The message was issued Friday by the Vatican, in preparation for the Catholic church’s annual World Peace Day, which it marks on Jan. 1.

Without citing any nation, Francis said many countries have seen “the spread of rhetoric decrying the risks posed to national security or the high cost of welcoming new arrivals” of migrants.

He added that those who “for what may be political reasons, foment fear of migrants instead of building peace are sowing violence, racial discrimination and xenophobia.”

Anti-migrant politics have been gaining influence in many places in Europe, including in the Vatican’s backyard in Italy.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast rewritten or redistributed.)

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