Pope, prime Iraq Shiite cleric maintain historic, symbolic assembly


Pope Francis and Iraq’s prime Shiite cleric delivered a strong message of peaceable coexistence Saturday, urging Muslims within the war-weary Arab nation to embrace Iraq’s long-beleaguered Christian minority throughout a historic assembly within the holy metropolis of Najaf.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani mentioned non secular authorities have a job in defending Iraq’s Christians, and that Christians ought to dwell in peace and luxuriate in the identical rights as different Iraqis. The Vatican mentioned Francis thanked al-Sistani for having “raised his voice in protection of the weakest and most persecuted” throughout among the most violent occasions in Iraq’s latest historical past.

Al-Sistani, 90, is among the most senior clerics in Shiite Islam and his uncommon however highly effective political interventions have helped form present-day Iraq. He’s a deeply revered determine in Shiite-majority Iraq and his opinions on non secular and different issues are sought by Shiites worldwide.

Pope Francis, heart, listens throughout an interreligious assembly close to the archaeological website of Ur close to Nasiriyah, Iraq, Saturday, March 6, 2021. Pope Francis and Iraq’s prime Shiite cleric delivered a strong message of peaceable coexistence Saturday, urging Muslims within the war-weary Arab nation to embrace Iraq’s long-beleaguered Christian minority throughout an historic assembly within the holy metropolis of Najaf. (AP Photograph/Nabil al-Jourani)

The historic assembly in al-Sistani’s humble dwelling was months within the making, with each element painstakingly mentioned and negotiated between the ayatollah’s workplace and the Vatican.

Early Saturday, the 84-year-old pontiff, travelling in a bullet-proof Mercedes-Benz, pulled up alongside Najaf’s slender and column-lined Rasool Avenue, which culminates on the golden-domed Imam Ali Shrine, one of the vital revered websites in Shiite Islam. He then walked the few meters (yards) to al-Sistani’s modest dwelling, which the cleric has rented for many years.

AHEAD OF POPE VISIT, SURVIVOR RECALLS CHRISTIAN CHURCH MASSACRE IN IRAQ

A bunch of Iraqis carrying conventional garments welcomed him exterior. As a masked Francis entered the doorway, a number of white doves have been launched in an indication of peace. He emerged just below an hour later, nonetheless limping from an obvious flare-up of sciatica nerve ache that makes strolling troublesome.

The “very constructive” assembly lasted a complete of 40 minutes, mentioned a spiritual official in Najaf, who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of he was not approved to temporary media.

Pope Francis, right, meets with Iraq's leading Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf, Iraq, Saturday, March 6, 2021. The closed-door meeting was expected to touch on issues plaguing Iraq's Christian minority. Al-Sistani is a deeply revered figure in Shiite-majority Iraq and and his opinions on religious matters are sought by Shiites worldwide. (AP Photo/Vatican Media)

Pope Francis, proper, meets with Iraq’s main Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf, Iraq, Saturday, March 6, 2021. The closed-door assembly was anticipated to the touch on points plaguing Iraq’s Christian minority. Al-Sistani is a deeply revered determine in Shiite-majority Iraq and and his opinions on non secular issues are sought by Shiites worldwide. (AP Photograph/Vatican Media)

The official mentioned al-Sistani, who usually stays seated for guests, stood to greet Francis on the door of his room — a uncommon honor. Al-Sistani and Francis sat shut to 1 one other, with out masks. Al-Sistani, who hardly ever seems in public — even on tv — wore black robes and a black turban, in easy distinction to Francis’ all-white cassock.

The official mentioned there was some concern about the truth that the pope had met with so many individuals the day earlier than. Francis has acquired the coronavirus vaccine however al-Sistani has not. The growing old ayatollah, who underwent surgical procedure for a fractured thigh bone final 12 months, regarded drained.

JOHNSON & JOHNSON COVID VACCINE MORALLY WRONG? CATHOLIC BISHOPS CAUTION JUST THAT

The pope eliminated his sneakers earlier than getting into al-Sistani’s room and was served tea and a plastic bottle of water. Al-Sistani spoke for many of the assembly. Francis paused earlier than leaving al-Sistani’s room to have a final look, the official mentioned.

The pope arrived later within the historic metropolis of Ur for an interfaith assembly within the conventional birthplace of Abraham, the biblical patriarch revered by Christians, Muslims and Jews.

An aerial photo shows archeological site of the 6,000-year-old archaeological site of Ur during the preparations for Pope Francis' visit near Nasiriyah, Iraq, Saturday, March 6, 2021. Pope Francis arrived in Iraq on Friday to urge the country's dwindling number of Christians to stay put and help rebuild the country after years of war and persecution, brushing aside the coronavirus pandemic and security concerns to make his first-ever papal visit. (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jourani)

An aerial picture reveals archeological website of the 6,000-year-old archaeological website of Ur through the preparations for Pope Francis’ go to close to Nasiriyah, Iraq, Saturday, March 6, 2021. Pope Francis arrived in Iraq on Friday to induce the nation’s dwindling variety of Christians to remain put and assist rebuild the nation after years of conflict and persecution, brushing apart the coronavirus pandemic and safety issues to make his first-ever papal go to. (AP Photograph/Nabil al-Jourani)

“From this place, the place religion was born, from the land of our father Abraham, allow us to affirm that God is merciful and that the best blasphemy is to profane his title by hating our brothers and sisters,” Francis mentioned. “Hostility, extremism and violence will not be born of a spiritual coronary heart: they’re betrayals of faith.”

Non secular leaders stood to greet him. Whereas Francis wore a masks, few of the leaders on the tented stage did. The assembly was held within the shadow of Ur’s magnificent ziggurat, the 6,000-year-old archaeological complicated close to the fashionable metropolis of Nasiriyah.

ISRAEL UPDATING PLANS TO STRIKE IRANIAN NUCLEAR SITES, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER TELLS FOX NEWS

The Vatican mentioned Iraqi Jews have been invited to the occasion however didn’t attend, with out offering additional particulars. Iraq’s historic Jewish neighborhood was decimated within the twentieth century by violence and mass emigration fueled by the Arab-Israeli battle, and solely a handful stay.

Ali Thijeel, a resident of the close by metropolis of Nasiriyah who attended the occasion, mentioned he hoped the pope’s go to would encourage funding within the space to draw pilgrims and vacationers. “That is what we have been ready for,” he mentioned. “It is a message to the federal government and politicians. They need to care for this metropolis and take note of our historical past.”

Pope Francis is helped standing during an interreligious meeting near the archaeological area of the Sumerian city-state of Ur, 20 kilometers south-west of Nasiriyah, Iraq, Saturday, March 6, 2021. Since the beginning of this trip to Iraq Francis has been limping from an apparent flare-up of sciatica nerve pain that makes walking difficult. Ur is considered the traditional birthplace of Abraham, the prophet common to Muslims, Christians and Jews.Francis traveled to the southern ruins of Ur on Saturday to reinforce his message of interreligious tolerance and fraternity during the first-ever papal visit to Iraq, a country riven by religious and ethnic divisions. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Pope Francis is helped standing throughout an interreligious assembly close to the archaeological space of the Sumerian city-state of Ur, 20 kilometers south-west of Nasiriyah, Iraq, Saturday, March 6, 2021. Because the starting of this journey to Iraq Francis has been limping from an obvious flare-up of sciatica nerve ache that makes strolling troublesome. Ur is taken into account the standard birthplace of Abraham, the prophet widespread to Muslims, Christians and Jews.Francis traveled to the southern ruins of Ur on Saturday to strengthen his message of interreligious tolerance and fraternity through the first-ever papal go to to Iraq, a rustic riven by non secular and ethnic divisions. (AP Photograph/Andrew Medichini)

The Vatican mentioned the go to to al-Sistani was an opportunity for Francis to emphasise the necessity for collaboration and friendship between completely different non secular communities.

In an announcement issued by his workplace after the assembly, al-Sistani affirmed that Christians ought to “dwell like all Iraqis, in safety and peace and with full constitutional rights.” He identified the “position that the non secular authority performs in defending them, and others who’ve additionally suffered injustice and hurt within the occasions of previous years.”

COVID-19 STRIKES 2 US NAVY WARSHIPS MOORED IN BAHRAIN, AT LEAST 40 INFECTED

Al-Sistani wished Francis and the followers of the Catholic Church happiness, and thanked him for taking the difficulty to go to him in Najaf, the assertion mentioned.

For Iraq’s dwindling Christian minority, a present of solidarity from al-Sistani might assist safe their place in Iraq after years of displacement — and, they hope, ease intimidation from Shiite militiamen towards their neighborhood.

Iraqis cheered the assembly of two revered religion leaders.

A photo released by the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani Office shows Shiite Muslim leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, left, meeting Pope Francis, 2nd left, along with Christian priests in Najaf, Iraq, Saturday, March 6, 2021. Pope Francis arrived in Iraq on Friday to urge the country's dwindling number of Christians to stay put and help rebuild the country after years of war and persecution, brushing aside the coronavirus pandemic and security concerns to make his first-ever papal visit. (AP Photo/HO)

A photograph launched by the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani Workplace reveals Shiite Muslim chief, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, left, assembly Pope Francis, 2nd left, together with Christian clergymen in Najaf, Iraq, Saturday, March 6, 2021. Pope Francis arrived in Iraq on Friday to induce the nation’s dwindling variety of Christians to remain put and assist rebuild the nation after years of conflict and persecution, brushing apart the coronavirus pandemic and safety issues to make his first-ever papal go to. (AP Photograph/HO)

“We welcome the pope’s go to to Iraq and particularly to the holy metropolis of Najaf and his assembly with Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani,” mentioned Najaf resident Haidar Al-Ilyawi. “It’s a historic go to and hope it will likely be good for Iraq and the Iraqi individuals.”

Francis arrived in Iraq on Friday and met with senior authorities officers on the first-ever papal go to to the nation. Additionally it is his first worldwide journey because the begin of the coronavirus pandemic, and his assembly Saturday marked the primary time a pope had met a grand ayatollah.

LAWMAKERS INTRODUCE BILL TO REPEAL BIDEN’S WAR POWERS FOLLOWING SYRIA STRIKE

On the few events the place he has made his opinion identified, the reclusive al-Sistani has shifted the course of Iraq’s trendy historical past.

Within the years after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion he repeatedly preached calm and restraint because the Shiite majority got here underneath assault by al-Qaida and different Sunni extremists. The nation was nonetheless plunged into years of sectarian violence.

His 2014 fatwa, or non secular edict, calling on able-bodied males to hitch the safety forces in combating the Islamic State group swelled the ranks of Shiite militias, many intently tied to Iran. In 2019, as anti-government demonstrations gripped the nation, his sermon led to the resignation of then-prime minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi.

AMERICAN CONTRACTOR IN IRAQ DIES FROM ‘CARDIAC EPISODE’ AS ROCKETS HIT BASE HOSTING US TROOPS, PENTAGON SAYS

Iraqis have welcomed the go to and the worldwide consideration it has given the nation because it struggles to get well from many years of conflict and unrest. Iraq declared victory over the Islamic State group in 2017 however nonetheless sees sporadic assaults.

It has additionally seen latest rocket assaults linked to the standoff between the U.S. and Iran following the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear accord and its imposition of crippling sanctions on Iran. President Joe Biden has mentioned he desires to revive the deal.

Francis’ go to to Najaf and close by Ur traverses provinces which have seen latest instability. In Nasiriyah, the place the Plains of Ur are positioned, protest violence left not less than 5 useless final month. Most have been killed when Iraqi safety forces used dwell ammunition to disperse crowds.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Protest violence was additionally seen in Najaf final 12 months, however abated because the mass anti-government motion that engulfed Iraq regularly petered out.

14 thoughts on “Pope, prime Iraq Shiite cleric maintain historic, symbolic assembly

  1. I am very happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the accidental misinformation that’s at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this best doc.

  2. I抦 impressed, I need to say. Actually rarely do I encounter a blog that抯 each educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve got hit the nail on the head. Your concept is outstanding; the difficulty is something that not sufficient individuals are talking intelligently about. I am very completely satisfied that I stumbled across this in my seek for one thing referring to this.

  3. I have been exploring for a bit for any high-quality articles or blog posts
    in this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this web site.
    Studying this information So i am satisfied to convey that I’ve a very excellent uncanny feeling I discovered exactly
    what I needed. I most no doubt will make sure to don?t omit this web
    site and give it a look regularly. 0mniartist asmr

  4. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as
    long as I provide credit and sources back to your website?
    My website is in the exact same niche as yours and my users would genuinely benefit from some of the information you
    present here. Please let me know if this okay with you.
    Thanks a lot! asmr 0mniartist

  5. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyhow, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and
    checking back frequently! 0mniartist asmr

  6. Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new
    initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us
    useful information to work on. You have done a extraordinary job!
    asmr 0mniartist

  7. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to assert that I get actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you access consistently quickly.

  8. Definitely, what a fantastic blog and informative posts, I definitely will bookmark your site.Have an awsome day!

  9. What i don’t understood is actually how you’re not really much more well-liked than you might be now. You’re very intelligent. You realize thus considerably relating to this subject, produced me personally consider it from numerous varied angles. Its like women and men aren’t fascinated unless it抯 one thing to do with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs nice. Always maintain it up!

  10. I am now not positive the place you’re getting your information, but great topic. I needs to spend a while learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for wonderful information I was searching for this information for my mission.

  11. Have you ever considered writing an e-book or guest authoring on other sites? I have a blog centered on the same ideas you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers would value your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an email.

  12. Undeniably consider that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be at the net the easiest thing to take into account of. I say to you, I definitely get irked even as other people consider issues that they just don’t recognise about. You managed to hit the nail upon the highest as neatly as outlined out the whole thing with no need side-effects , people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  13. After examine just a few of the blog posts on your website now, and I actually like your manner of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark web site record and will likely be checking back soon. Pls try my web page as well and let me know what you think.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *