Ayatollah Sistani, Pope Francis visit toconvey message of religious convergence
Iraqi government has special look on the upcoming trip by Pope Francis since the visit will place the Arab country, which has been in headlines for tension and terrorism so far, in the center of international attention with a new message.
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Seyyed Reza Qazvini Qarabi, senior political expert on Iraq, related on significance of the visit to be made by Pope Francis to Iraq as the visit is the first one to be made by a senior Christian leader to the region, reported Taqrib News Agency (TNA).
He referred to Iraq as a major hub of Christians throughout history and one of the most important ideological and political centers in the world of Islam since past.
He noted the sufferings of non-Muslims, namely Christianity, after emergence of terrorist and extremist groups in Iraq and said," This trip can be an opportunity to show compassion of the Christian world with the Arab country and support for the Christin community there."
The political expert also highlighted the importance of the visit in regards to the meeting between top leaders from the Christian and Shia world and said," This can convey the message of convergence and cooperation between religions in battle against violence, extremism and terrorism as well as interfaith dialogue in high levels.
He highlighted importance of negotiations between top figures like Pope Francis and Ayatollah Sistani for regional peace and combatting terrorism saying," Historical significance and positive outcomes of the trip is known to all" and added," Iraq can make the best of the opportunity for formation of an international campaign by non-state actors in order to decrease the foreign interference in the Arab country."
Pope Francis is due to arrive in Baghdad on March 5. He will visit Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the influential Shia leader of Iraq, in Najaf and attend an interreligious meeting in Ur. He will also visit the north of the country, celebrating Mass in Irbil and saying prayers in Mosul, before departing March 8.