Pope Francis on Saturday led an inter-faith prayer service in the ancient city of Ur, considered the birthplace of Prophet Abraham, as part of his current visit to Iraq.
“Hostility, extremism and violence are not born of a religious heart, they are betrayals of religion,” the Pope said in a speech. “From this place, here, faith and monotheism appeared in the land of our father Abraham.”
The pontiff said when Iraq was attacked by terrorists, “history also suffered from that attack, including local churches and monasteries”.
Earlier Saturday, Pope Francis held a historic meeting with Iraq’s top Shia cleric Ali Al-Sistani in the southern Najaf city.
Francis arrived in Baghdad on Friday where he separately met Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and President Barham Saleh as well as other government and religious Iraqi figures.
On his schedule, the pontiff will also travel to Erbil, northern Iraq, where he will meet with Kurdish Regional Government’s Prime Minister Masrour Barzani.
*Ahmed Asmar in Ankara contributed to this report
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