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Pope Francis meets Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani.

Image Credit: Office of Shiite cleric, Ali Al-Sistani.

Pope Francis met Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani on Saturday in his home in Najaf, which is the seat of the Iraqi Shiite clergy, on his second day of his trip in Iraq.

Al-Sistani said that all Christians should live in peace.

Affirmed his concern that Christian citizens should live like all Iraqis in peace and security, and with their full constitutional rights.

Al-Sistani statement office.

The Vatican said that Pope Francis thanked Al-Sistani and the Shiite people for having ‘raised his voice in defense of the weakest and most persecuted’.

The Pope than visited the ruins of Ur near Nasiriyah, where he attended an interreligious meeting. The archeleogical site of Ur is the birthplace of Prophet Abraham, father of Muslim and Christian faiths. The Pope said during the meeting,

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. Hostility, extremism and violence are not born of a religious heart: they are betrayals of religion.

Pope Francis

Ths Pope also said,

Peace does not demand winners or losers, but rather brothers and sisters who, for all the misunderstandings and hurts of the past, are journeying from conflict to unity.

Pope Francis.

The interreligious meeting ended around 9:30am (Iraqi time). Pope Francis is now set to go back to Baghdad.

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