Pope Francis listened to recitations of the Quran in the ancient Babylonian city of Ur, Iraq. Ur is the hometown of the Jewish Patriarch Abraham which is located in southern Iraq in a historic meeting on Saturday.
In his first-ever visit to Iraq, the Pontiff delivered a historic speech. One excerpt seems to be a condemnation of former US President Donald Trump’s wall on the US-Mexico border.
” Amid the tempests we are currently experiencing, such isolation will not save us. Nor will an arms race or the erection of walls that will only make us all the more distant and aggressive” he said.
Ironically, although the Pope addressed the Jewish people, there was no Jewish representation present.
“Today we, Jews, Christians, and Muslims, together with our brothers and sisters of other religions, honor our father Abraham by doing as he did: we look up to heaven and we journey on earth,” the Pope stated at the beginning of his speech.
The Pontiff arrived in Iraq on Friday and met with top government officials on his historic visit to the war-torn country. The visit’s goal was to call for greater fraternity among all faiths. On Saturday he met with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who is among one of the more senior clerics in Shiite Islam, in the Iraqi city of Najaf to deliver a message of coexistence.
The Pope then made an impassioned plea for “unity” following the Iraqi conflict. Additionally, he listened to a recitation of the Quran.
“It all started from here,” Francis stated, after listening to representatives of Iraq’s various religious sects.
After the prayer service ended in Ur, Pope Francis returned to Baghdad to observe his first public Mass in the Middle Eastern country, at the Saint Joseph Cathedral.
Iraqis lauded the Pope’s visit as well as the international legitimacy it has provided to the country as it continues to lick its wounds following decades of war, armed conflict, and unrest.