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Biden calls Pope's Iraq visit symbol of hope for world

March 8, 2021 at 6:03 pm

An Iraqi security guard stands in front of a huge billboard bearing portraits of Pope Francis and Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani (R) in central Baghdad on March 4, 2021, on the eve of the pontiff’s first visit to Iraq [AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images]

US President Joe Biden on Monday called Pope Francis’s visit to Iraq a symbol of hope for the entire world, Anadolu Agency reported a White House statement saying

“Pope Francis’ visit was a historic and welcome first for the country. It sent an important message, as Pope Francis said himself, that ‘fraternity is more durable than fratricide, that hope is more powerful than death, that peace more powerful than war’,” Biden said.

The president called Iraq “home to one of the oldest and most diverse Christian communities in the world.”

“To see Pope Francis visit ancient religious sites, including the biblical birthplace of Abraham, spend time with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf, and offer prayers in Mosul — a city that only a few years ago endured the depravity and intolerance of a group like ISIS (Daesh) — is a symbol of hope for the entire world,” he added.

Biden congratulated the government and people of Iraq for planning the Pope’s visit and said he continues to admire Pope Francis for his commitment to promoting religious tolerance, the common bonds of humanity, and interfaith understanding.

Pope Francis landed in Iraq on Friday, which marked the first time a papal visit to the country in history.

READ: Pope Francis visits Qaraqosh, Christian enclave ruled by Daesh for 3 years