Grand Imam of Al Azhar praises Pope’s ‘historic and courageous’ visit to Iraq
05 Mar 2021
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi walks with Pope Francis upon his arrival at Baghdad International Airport on Friday. Reuters
Gulf Today Report
Dr Ahmed Al Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar and Chairman of the Council of Muslim Elders, praised the visit of Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, to Iraq describing it as "historic and courageous."
In a tweet, Dr Ahmed said, "The historic and courageous visit of my brother Pope Francis to Iraq carries a message of peace, solidarity and support for all the Iraqi people. I pray for his success that this trip will achieve the hoped-for fruits on the path of human brotherhood."
Pope Francis has arrived in Iraq on a visit to rally the country’s dwindling Christian community after decades of war.
The pontiff’s landmark visit has been months in the making and is the first papal visit to Iraq, one that eluded his predecessors. He brings a message of peace and coexistence to comfort the country’s deep-rooted Christian minority, many of whom fled the country in the successive conflicts that followed the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
The Alitalia flight, with both Vatican and Iraqi flags, carrying the Pope and his delegation landed just before 2pm (1100GMT). A red carpet was rolled out on the tarmac in Baghdad’s international airport.
Hundreds of people gathered along the airport road with hopes of catching a glimpse of the Pope’s convoy.