The leader of the Catholic Church in Portugal has warned young women not to marry Muslims. Cardinal Jose Policarpo of Lisbon said Christians should learn more about Islam, and respect Muslims, but "think twice" about a marriage across religious lines.

"The advice that I give to young Portuguese girls is: Be careful with love, think twice about marrying a Muslim," said Cardinal Jose Policarpo of Lisbon on Tuesday evening. "Think seriously because it brings loads of hassle, and even Allah can't say where all that will end."

It's Vatican policy to discourage Catholic women from marrying Muslims. But Policarpo's comments, made in a public forum on Tueday and later aired on Portuguese TV, have caused a ruffle of controversy in his small nation, which has about 40,000 Muslims, according to Muslim leaders in Lisbon. Many are from neighboring countries in north Africa.

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