Pope Francis condemns extremism as a betrayal of religion page all

BAGHDAD, KOMPAS.com – The leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis is emphatically criticizing extremism while visiting Ur, on Saturday (6/3/2021).

This ancient Iraqi city is believed to be the birthplace of Abraham, the common ancestor of Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Pope Francis criticized extremism as “a betrayal of religion,” on the second day of the first papal visit to Iraq.

Speaking at a meeting of interfaith leaders, Pope Francis condemned the violence that has engulfed Iraq in recent years. He also called for friendship and cooperation between religions.

“All ethnic and religious communities have suffered. In particular, I would like to mention the Yazidi community, which have mourned the deaths of countless men and witnessed thousands of women, girls and children being abducted, sold into slavery, subjected to physical violence and forced conversion,” the 266th Pope of Rome said CNN on Saturday (6/3/2021).

Pope Francis also praised recovery efforts in northern Iraq, where ISIS terrorists destroyed historic sites, churches, monasteries and other places of worship.

“I think of young Muslim volunteers in Mosul, who are helping to repair churches and monasteries. They have built fraternal friendships on the rubble of hatred. Also Christians and Muslims who are currently working together to restore mosques and churches,” he said.

Also read: Pope Francis Arrives in Mosul, the City Destroyed by ISIS, This Is His Prayer

The speech calling for interfaith cooperation came just hours after the Pope held a historic meeting with revered Shia Muslim cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in the holy city of Najaf.

The Pope’s meeting with 90-year-old al-Sistani lasted 45 minutes. The Shia Muslim cleric rarely appears in public.

The second meeting represents one of the most important summits, between a Pope and a prominent Shia Muslim figure in recent years.

In the meeting, which was broadcast on al-Iraqiya state TV, al-Sistani thanked Pope Francis for having attempted to travel to Najaf.

Sistani also told the Pope that Christians in Iraq should live “like all Iraqis, in security and peace, and with their full constitutional rights,” according to a statement issued by Ayatollah the Great’s office.

A statement from the Holy See of Rome also conveyed the Pope’s gratitude to al-Sistani and the Shiite Muslim community. Because they have raised their voices to defend the weakest and most persecuted, affirm the sanctity of human life, and the importance of the association of the Iraqi people.

Also read: In a meeting with Pope Francis, Iraq’s leading Shiite cleric supports Christians and Muslims to live in peace

Four day tour Pope Francis to Iraq in six cities is Pope Francis’ first trip outside of Italy since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The Pope landed in Baghdad on Friday (5/3/2021). He met directly with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. Subsequent meetings were held with clerics and other officials at a church in Baghdad, which was the site of the bloody 2010 massacre.

He returned to Baghdad on Saturday afternoon and celebrated worship services at Saint Joseph’s Khaldea Cathedral.

Iraq has imposed a total curfew for the entire four-day papal visit. This is done to minimize health and safety risks.

Pope Francis is scheduled to leave Iraq on Monday (8/3/2021).

The leader of the 84-year-old Catholic Church has met with prominent Sunni cleric Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb on several occasions in the past. Their meeting was famous for the signing of the 2019 document, which promises “brotherhood of mankind” between world religions.

Also read: Pope Francis Meets Iraqi Shia Cleric Ayatollah Ali Sistani

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