Cardinal Timothy Dolan has compared the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), saying both groups used religion to justify their violence.

Dolan’s comments were made to CNN on Tuesday (March 3). “The IRA claimed to be Catholic," he told anchor Chris Cuomo. “They were baptized. They had a Catholic identity.” But, he continued, “what they were doing was a perversion of everything the church stood for.”

Dolan said that, like the IRA, the Islamic State extremists “do not represent genuine Islamic thought” but are “a particularly perverted form of Islam.”

“The analogy (to the IRA) is somewhat accurate,” said Dolan, who will lead the St. Patrick’s Parade as Grand Marshal in New York.

Speaking of ISIS he stated, “These are not pure, these are not real Muslims. Now what we need and what Pope Francis has led the world in saying, is we need the temperate, moderate, genuine forces of Islam to rise up and say this – they do not represent us. Now, that’s beginning to happen. God can bring good out of evil.”

He pointed out that Pope Francis had often said that the Islamic State does not represent genuine Islam and that “all religions have these little groups” and he had pointed to instances when Catholics used religion to justify terrible violence.

President Obama received a huge backlash when he made broadly similar comments at last month's National Prayer breakfast, arguing that ISIS does not represent genuine Islam and that Christians should not “get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place” because in the past believers also “committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”

Dolan stated he believed the ISIS group was conducting a “systematic, well-choreographed, very well-focused attempt to eradicate the ancient Christian population in the Mideast.”