• ۱۴۰۰ يکشنبه ۱۴ آذر
روزنامه در یک نگاه
امکانات
روزنامه در یک نگاه دریافت همه صفحات
تبلیغات
online صفحه ویژه

30 شماره آخر

  • شماره 4886 -
  • ۱۳۹۹ شنبه ۲۳ اسفند

Two Features of the Pope’s Trip to Iraq

Mohammad Saleh Sedghian

The recent visit by Pope Francis to Iraq was aimed at supporting Iraqi Christians. In addition to all the suffering that the Iraqi people have suffered during the last two decades of war, occupation and terrorism, there has been great oppression over the Iraqi Christian population. In the early days of Saddam’s fall, al-Qaeda’s attack on the Church of Seyyedeh Nejat in Baghdad, in which al-Qaeda terrorists kidnapped worshipers and demanded the release of some of the al-Qaeda leaders in Iraq and Egypt, ended up in a bloody massacre. About 60 people, most of them Christians, were killed by al-Qaeda.
These attacks and killings continued with greater intensity during the rule of ISIS and many Christians lost their lives in terrorist attacks in Mosul, Sinjar and other parts of Iraq. Many Iraqi Christians were forced to immigrate to other countries because of ISIS and today it is estimated that the Iraqi Christian population is less than a quarter of what it was when Saddam Hussein fell to the US and Britain. The Christians themselves believe that, historically, the first inhabitants of Iraq were those who later converted to Christianity and that the Assyrians in Mosul were among the oldest tribes in Iraq.
The issue of supporting Iraqi Christians is not new. In 1999, during Saddam’s rule, a great effort was made by the Vatican government to send Pope John Paul II to Iraq. However, despite Baghdad’s insistence, the Pope did not travel to Iraq at that time when Saddam was under intense international pressure and internal crises. Saddam Hussein hoped to use the opportunity of the world’s Catholic leader’s trip to Iraq to rebuild his political image and, at the same time, find a way to reduce the international pressures and destructive sanctions imposed on Iraq at the time. 
Pope Francis’s visit to Iraq had two very remarkable features. The first was the display of security and stability in Iraq and the second was the Pope’s unprecedented meeting with Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Sistani. As for the first feature, it can be said that this trip was a practical step to support the political process in Iraq. In particular, one should not forget that the Pope did not visit Iraq in 1999 but, 22 years later, with the changes that have taken place, there was an opportunity for the Pope to travel to Iraq. This trip intimates a level of serious support for the political developments in post-Saddam Iraq.
Two decades after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the foreign occupation, the internal crisis and the rise of ISIS, Iraq has now found a level of peace, stability and security that can host one of the world’s greatest religious leaders. It is worth mentioning that one of the most vital reasons for the defeat of ISIS in Iraq was under the responsibility of Hashad al-Shaabi and the Iraqi resistance groups, a point that was not hidden from the Pope’s eyes. With the welcoming delegation, he gave a special gift to Ryan Chaldean, the head of the Christian mobilization in Hashad al-Shaabi. The rosary that the Pope personally gave to Chaldean was a special gift not to be given to the other members of the welcoming committee.
Chaldean was one of the senior commanders of Hashad al-Shaabi who had very close and sincere relations with the martyrs Haj Ghasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Mohandes. The gift was a sign of the Christian leader’s awareness of Hashad al-Shaabi’s efforts to uphold the Christian right to life and fight extremist terrorism. 
The second feature of the trip was Ayatollah Sistani’s unprecedented meeting with Pope Francis. This was the first time that the world’s Catholic leader has met with a senior Shiite cleric. In my opinion, it is very notable that the leader of the world’s Catholics goes to Najaf and meets a senior Shiite authority in a simple, public environment and in a house without formalities.
This event was very important for Shiism and Shiite authorities. In addition, issues such as sanctions against ordinary citizens and the issue of Palestine were key matters during the conversations between the two senior religious leaders. I think the issues raised at this meeting between the two senior religious leaders were very important to the people of the Arab world and to Iraq. From my perspective, this is one of the most crucial interfaith meetings of the last decades, which is of special importance not only for the Shiites and the people of Iraq, but also for all the Muslims of the world.


it is very notable that the leader of the world’s Catholics goes to Najaf and meets a senior Shiite authority in a simple, public environment and in a house without formalities

ارسال دیدگاه شما

ورود به حساب کاربری
ایجاد حساب کاربری
عنوان صفحه‌ها
کارتون
کارتون