Death and Displacement: Christians in Northern Iraq have experienced years of terrorist suffering. Pope Francis wants to give hope to the people there. An emotional visit awaits him.
Baghdad (AP) – Pope Francis commemorated the victims of the war against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist militia on the third day of his trip to Iraq.
“If God is the God of life – and he is – then we must not kill the siblings in his name,” said the 84-year-old Sunday in Mosul’s church square, surrounded by ruins of churches. The day was dedicated to the Christian community that Francis visited in Northern Iraq.
The Argentinian reiterates his belief that fraternity is stronger than fratricide. “Here in Mosul, the tragic consequences of the war and hostilities are all too visible,” he said. It is “cruel” that thousands were forcibly displaced and murdered and that cultural sites in this “cradle of civilization” were destroyed.
The church square in Mosul is a symbol of the devastation caused by the war. In recent years, the city has gained notoriety in connection with the rule of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist militia. His hunters took control of the city in 2014. Many Christians fled because they were about to die. Iraqi forces retook the city between 2016 and 2017 with the support of the international coalition. The city was badly damaged by the fierce fighting.
Francis is the first Pope to visit Iraq. On Sunday there was a visit to the Christian community in the city of Karakosch, not far from Mosul. In Erbil, the capital of the autonomous region of Kurdistan, a mass was also planned for thousands of worshipers in a football stadium.
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