Pope Francis sought to reinforce ties across religions during the second day of his trip to Iraq, visiting a top Shiite Muslim cleric on Saturday and leading a meeting with representatives of different faiths at the ancient site of Ur in the south of the country.

In a gesture both simple and profound, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani welcomed Francis into his spartan home. The 90-year-old cleric, one of the most eminent among Shiites worldwide, afterward said Christians should live in peace in Iraq 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.

 

https://www.npr.org/2021/03/06/974350536/pope-holds-historic-meeting-with-iraqs-top-shiite-cleric-preaches-message-of-uni

https://apnews.com/article/0ddb190d6c3d46a0be910aadf61e3564

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