Al-Azhar grand imam says Pope Francis’s Iraq visit ‘sends message of peace’

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Fri, 05 Mar 2021 - 01:56 GMT

Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayyeb of Al-Azhar during a visit to the Vatican - Reuters

Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayyeb of Al-Azhar during a visit to the Vatican - Reuters

CAIRO – 5 March 2021: Grand Imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar Ahmed El-Tayyeb hailed Pope Francis’s visit to Iraq, his first international visit since the pandemic hit the world, saying it sends a “message of peace” to the Iraqis.

Pope Francis arrived in Baghdad on Friday, becoming the first head of the Roman Catholic Church to visit the Arab country. His visit will also include a visit to Najaf and Mosul, where he would encourage inter-religious dialogue.

“My brother Pope Francis’s historic and courageous visit to Iraq sends a message of peace, solidarity, and support to all Iraqi people,” Tayyeb said.

“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.”

Pope Francis and Tayyeb signed in 2019 a Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, during a Global Conference in UAE’s Abu Dhabi.

Tayyeb and Pope Francis participated last month in a virtual celebration of the International Day of Human Fraternity.

The sheikh hailed Pope Francis as “brave friend” and “esteemed brother” calling on everybody to join the interfaith document.

“Allow me in the beginning to extend a greeting mixed with respect and appreciation to my esteemed brother Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, and the permanent brave friend on the path of brotherhood and peace”.

“I call on everyone, with an open heart and a hand extended with love and peace, to join the Document on Human Fraternity and to align behind the principles of brotherhood, freedom, equality and justice among people it holds”.

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