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Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Pope Francis' visit to Iraq 'sends message of peace, solidarity': Al-Azhar's Grand Imam

"I pray to Almighty Allah to grant him success and that his trip achieves the desired outcome to continue on the path of human fraternity,” Al-Azhar's Al-Tayeb tweeted on Friday

Ahram Online , Friday 5 Mar 2021
Al-Azhar
File Photo: Pope Francis exchanges gifts with Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Al-Tayeb (L), Egyptian Imam of al-Azhar Mosque, at the Vatican May 23, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)
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Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb said that Pope Francis' visit to Iraq “sends a message of peace, solidarity and support to all Iraqi people”.
 
"I pray to Almighty Allah to grant him success and that his trip achieves the desired outcome to continue on the path of human fraternity,” Al-Tayeb added in a tweet on Friday.
 
His message comes as Pope Francis landed in Iraq on Friday after departing from Rome earlier this morning in his first foreign trip since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak last year.
 
Pope Francis' historic visit to Iraq is the first-ever papal visit and comes in defiance of security fears and the pandemic.
 
On the eve of his visit to Iraq - a country that has suffered years of violence - the pontiff paid tribute to those agonised by years of violence, quoting that he is a “pilgrim of peace”.
 
"I long to meet you, to see your faces and to visit your land; the ancient and extraordinary cradle of civilisation," he said.
 
"I come as a pilgrim, a penitent pilgrim to implore forgiveness and reconciliation from the Lord after years of war and terrorism,” the pope added.
 
His visit, which shall continue till Sunday, saw central Baghdad to the Shiite shrine city of Najaf and was adorned with welcome banners featuring his image and his Arabic title "Baba Al-Vatican" in the streets, according to AFP.
 
He is set to meet the country’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the foremost religious leader for many of the world’s Shiaa Muslims among other meetings and visits to religious landmarks.
 
 
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