In Iraq for the first-ever visit by a pope of the Vatican, Pope Francis Friday called for an end to violence and extremism.

In his speech at the presidential palace, the pope urged Iraq to “combat the scourge of corruption, promote justice, and end violence and extremism.”

He also addressed the minorities in Iraq, calling on Christians for more “participation in public life” and touched on the sufferings of Ezidis inflicted by the Daesh/ISIS terrorist group, calling them “innocent victims of senseless atrocities.”

Pope Francis arrived in the Iraqi capital Baghdad Friday on a four-day official visit.

The state-run Al-Iraqiya TV broadcast live the landing of his plane.

He was received at the Baghdad International Airport by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi and a large number of officials and clerics of different religions and sects in Iraq.

It is also the pope’s first foreign tour since the global outbreak of coronavirus.

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

Pope Francis arrives in Iraq on historic visit

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