Vatican ambassador reviews the Pope's visit to Iraq

Vatican ambassador reviews the Pope’s visit to Iraq

The Prime Minister of Iraq, Mustafa al Kazemi, received the Vatican ambassador in Baghdad, Metja Scoffer, on Sunday to discuss the preparations for Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq at the beginning of the month of March, the Iraqi government reported today.

The Chief Executive affirmed that this visit “will contribute to consolidate stability and spread the spirit of brotherhood in Iraq and throughout the region” of the Middle East, where Christians have been brutally persecuted in recent years, especially by the terrorist group Estado Islamic (IS).
At the meeting, Al Kazemi highlighted “the pope’s efforts to limit conflicts, putting wisdom and reason first,” according to a statement.
In addition, he wanted to emphasize that both the Government of Iraq and the people and all ethnic or religious groups “look with respect and welcome this honorable visit.”
Al Kazemi made reference in this way to the controversy that has arisen in the Arab country, with a Muslim majority, where some more radical groups have opposed the papal trip, to which the prominent Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr has also reacted, stating that Francisco is welcome.
“Our hearts, before our doors, are open to him,” Al Sadr said, adding that he will be welcomed in the holy city of Al Najaf in southern Iraq, home to the highest Shiite religious authority, Ayatollah Ali al Sistani, with whom Francisco will meet.
He is also scheduled to visit Baghdad, the Ur Plain, the city of Erbil (capital of the autonomous region of Kurdistan) as well as Mosul and Qaraqosh (north), the latter city with a Christian majority that was razed by ISIS in 2014.
However, upon arrival in Iraq, Francisco will encounter some restrictions due to the increase in coronavirus cases: a total curfew on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and a partial curfew between 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. on other days of week.
The regulations, which will come into force on February 18, also affect places of worship, which will have to remain closed until March 8, the day on which the pontiff will conclude his historic visit.
Ben Oakley
Ben Oakley is the guy you can really trust when it comes to Mainstream News. Whether it is something happening at the Wall Street of New York City or inside the White House in Washington, D.C., no one can cover mainstream news like Ben. Get a daily dose of Trustworthy News by Ben Oakley, only at Globe Live Media.