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Sat Mar 6, 2021, 09:03 AM

Pope, top Iraq Shiite cleric hold historic, symbolic meeting

Pope Francis and Iraq’s top Shiite cleric delivered a powerful message of peaceful coexistence Saturday, urging Muslims in the war-weary Arab nation to embrace Iraq’s long-beleaguered Christian minority during an historic meeting in the holy city of Najaf.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said religious authorities have a role in protecting Iraq’s Christians, and that Christians should live in peace and enjoy the same rights as other Iraqis. The Vatican said Francis thanked al-Sistani for having “raised his voice in defense of the weakest and most persecuted” during some of the most violent times in Iraq’s recent history.


The pope arrived later in the ancient city of Ur for an interfaith meeting in the traditional birthplace of Abraham, the biblical patriarch revered by Christians, Muslims and Jews.

“From this place, where faith was born, from the land of our father Abraham, let us affirm that God is merciful and that the greatest blasphemy is to profane his name by hating our brothers and sisters,” Francis said. “Hostility, extremism and violence are not born of a religious heart: they are betrayals of religion.”


Link: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/pope-top-iraq-shiite-cleric-hold-historic-symbolic-meeting/ar-BB1eiZPP?li=BBnb7Kz

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