Iraq's political and religious delegation invites Pope Francis to visit Kurdistan

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Before leaving to greet the pilgrims from St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis met with various political and religious representatives from Iraq. There were Shiites, Sunnis, Christians, Yazidis and Mandaeans.

Pope Francis told them that this visit is a gesture of brotherhood. The differences, he pointed out with an example, should not be an obstacle to peace.

'We are brothers and, as brothers, we are all different and all the same. Like the fingers on a hand: there are five fingers, all are fingers, but all different.'

'Pray for me.'

When the pope finished, he greeted them one by one. He gave and received many signs of affection, like this Koran or this garment usually worn by sheikhs.

'This is a symbol... given to the sheikhs. So they call you Pope Sheikh.'

'Did you just give me an upgrade?'

They also gave him this sign in recognition of the work of Christians for those displaced and for refugees.

Several of them also invited Pope Francis to visit Iraq. Among them was this representative of the government of Kurdistan.

'Our peshmergas liberated the city ... and erected the crucifix again. You can come and visit Kurdistan because our Christian brothers need it. They need your presence and your prayers. The president also sends his greetings.'

Minutes later, in St Peter's Square, Pope Francis made a distressing call to action for Mosul, where civilians are trapped between two fires and are suffering the worst consequences of the war between the Islamic States and the Iraqi army, which is a coalition lead by the US.


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