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‘Let the guns stop, enough violence, together we support Iraq’: International leaders discuss outcomes of Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq

'Let the guns stop, enough violence, together we support Iraq': International leaders discuss outcomes of Pope Francis' visit to Iraq

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ABU DHABI –International religious leaders and officials came together on Thursday to discuss concrete steps towards promoting human fraternity in Iraq, duringa Higher Committee of Human Fraternity (HCHF)virtual event held just three months after His Holiness Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq.

His Eminence Cardinal Miguel Ayuso, a member of the Higher Committee who accompanied Pope Francis on the Iraq trip, said that Pope Francis’ visit was “another milestone in the path of interreligious dialogue,” following in the footsteps of the 2019 signing of the Document on Human Fraternity by Pope Francis and His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Professor Ahmed Al-Tayeb, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

His Excellency Hassan Nadhem, Iraqi Minister of Culture, said that each place Pope Francis visited during his trip carried a special message to the Iraqi people and the whole region, noting that the Pope’s visit is a translation of the Document on Human Fraternity values into action. He also praised the role of the UAE government in rebuilding houses of worship in Iraq that were destroyed by terrorists.

The UAE has pledged over $50 million to rebuild the cultural heritage of the Iraqi city of Mosul, including two Christian churches and the 12th century Al-Nouri mosque, destroyed by ISIS.

UAE Minister of Culture and Youth Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi said that His Highness Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was “extremely passionate” about the project from its launch – which began with the announcement of the reconstruction of Al-Nouri mosque – as he did not want destruction of the mosque to be the lasting memory in Mosul. She added that the UAE and Iraq have a “very historical and strong bond.”

Assistant Director-General of UNESCO Ernesto Ottone said that UNESCO is “completely aligned” with the UAE in rebuilding not only the structures of Mosul, but the spirit of the city. UNESCO’s “Revive the Spirit of Mosul” project has brought together Christians and Muslims to rebuild the city through construction, culture, and education. Father Olivier Poquillon, the Dominican Order representative to UNESCO-UAE restoration project in Mosul, said that Iraqi Christians and Muslims both believe that one another is vital to the landscape of Iraq and emphasized that the wellbeing of all Iraq’s diverse communities is crucial to the future of the country.

For his part, His Eminence Cardinal Louis Sako, the Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate of Babylon, said he counts on the HCHF to come up with an action plan to implement what Pope Francis indicated in his speeches addressed to all Iraqi people and peoples of the region – not only Christians. He also praised the efforts of the UAE in promoting religious, cultural, and social tolerance; its establishment of the Ministry of Tolerance and its hosting of the HCHF.

Dr. Sayyed Jawad Al-Khoei, co-founder of the Iraqi Council for Interfaith Dialogue, said His Holiness Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq united Iraqis, spread a spirit of peace and optimism, and promoted constructive communication in Iraq and the region. He added that it is the duty of religious leaders to highlight the commonalities and moral values among religions and called on religious leaders to employ reason to settle any differences and disputes.

HCHF Secretary-General Judge Abdelsalam said that Pope Francis’ insistence on supporting the Iraqi people despite all the challenges that surrounded the visit is a clear expression of the humanistic approach, which the Pope adopts. It is expected that His Eminence Professor Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, will visit Iraq to show solidarity to the Iraqi people and strengthen their unity and cohesion, Abdelsalam added.

The Iraqi people are looking forward to the visit of His Eminence Professor Ahmed Al-Tayeb, said Sheikh Dr. Abdel-Wahab Taha Al-Sammerai, Imam and Khatib of Abu Hanifa Mosque in Baghdad, noting that such visit will have a great impact. Sheikh Al-Sammerai also called for the establishment of an Iraqi family house like the Egyptian Family House, established in 2011 by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar to support Muslim-Christian relations in Egypt.

Judge Abdelsalam stressed that the HCHF will be actively engaged with the Iraqi people to promote fraternity and peaceful coexistence so that Iraq will be able to restore its great role as a global beacon of peaceful coexistence and human fraternity.

ABU DHABI –International religious leaders and officials came together on Thursday to discuss concrete steps towards promoting human fraternity in Iraq, duringa Higher Committee of Human Fraternity (HCHF)virtual event held just three months after His Holiness Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq.

His Eminence Cardinal Miguel Ayuso, a member of the Higher Committee who accompanied Pope Francis on the Iraq trip, said that Pope Francis’ visit was “another milestone in the path of interreligious dialogue,” following in the footsteps of the 2019 signing of the Document on Human Fraternity by Pope Francis and His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Professor Ahmed Al-Tayeb, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

His Excellency Hassan Nadhem, Iraqi Minister of Culture, said that each place Pope Francis visited during his trip carried a special message to the Iraqi people and the whole region, noting that the Pope’s visit is a translation of the Document on Human Fraternity values into action. He also praised the role of the UAE government in rebuilding houses of worship in Iraq that were destroyed by terrorists.

The UAE has pledged over $50 million to rebuild the cultural heritage of the Iraqi city of Mosul, including two Christian churches and the 12th century Al-Nouri mosque, destroyed by ISIS.

UAE Minister of Culture and Youth Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi said that His Highness Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was “extremely passionate” about the project from its launch – which began with the announcement of the reconstruction of Al-Nouri mosque – as he did not want destruction of the mosque to be the lasting memory in Mosul. She added that the UAE and Iraq have a “very historical and strong bond.”

Assistant Director-General of UNESCO Ernesto Ottone said that UNESCO is “completely aligned” with the UAE in rebuilding not only the structures of Mosul, but the spirit of the city. UNESCO’s “Revive the Spirit of Mosul” project has brought together Christians and Muslims to rebuild the city through construction, culture, and education. Father Olivier Poquillon, the Dominican Order representative to UNESCO-UAE restoration project in Mosul, said that Iraqi Christians and Muslims both believe that one another is vital to the landscape of Iraq and emphasized that the wellbeing of all Iraq’s diverse communities is crucial to the future of the country.

For his part, His Eminence Cardinal Louis Sako, the Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate of Babylon, said he counts on the HCHF to come up with an action plan to implement what Pope Francis indicated in his speeches addressed to all Iraqi people and peoples of the region – not only Christians. He also praised the efforts of the UAE in promoting religious, cultural, and social tolerance; its establishment of the Ministry of Tolerance and its hosting of the HCHF.

Dr. Sayyed Jawad Al-Khoei, co-founder of the Iraqi Council for Interfaith Dialogue, said His Holiness Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq united Iraqis, spread a spirit of peace and optimism, and promoted constructive communication in Iraq and the region. He added that it is the duty of religious leaders to highlight the commonalities and moral values among religions and called on religious leaders to employ reason to settle any differences and disputes.

HCHF Secretary-General Judge Abdelsalam said that Pope Francis’ insistence on supporting the Iraqi people despite all the challenges that surrounded the visit is a clear expression of the humanistic approach, which the Pope adopts. It is expected that His Eminence Professor Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, will visit Iraq to show solidarity to the Iraqi people and strengthen their unity and cohesion, Abdelsalam added.

The Iraqi people are looking forward to the visit of His Eminence Professor Ahmed Al-Tayeb, said Sheikh Dr. Abdel-Wahab Taha Al-Sammerai, Imam and Khatib of Abu Hanifa Mosque in Baghdad, noting that such visit will have a great impact. Sheikh Al-Sammerai also called for the establishment of an Iraqi family house like the Egyptian Family House, established in 2011 by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar to support Muslim-Christian relations in Egypt.

Judge Abdelsalam stressed that the HCHF will be actively engaged with the Iraqi people to promote fraternity and peaceful coexistence so that Iraq will be able to restore its great role as a global beacon of peaceful coexistence and human fraternity.

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