The Christians of Mosul are eagerly looking forward to Pope Francis’ visit to the once predominantly Christian city devastated by ISIS and are hoping that he will declare some of those killed by the Islamist invaders as martyrs.
Chaldean Archbishop Michaeel Najeeb of Mosul told the Register March 2 that the Pope’s visit on Sunday will give the small number of Christians living there hope and strength, and encourage those who fled ISIS invaders to return.
The Dominican prelate, who said he has seen the Pope’s Mosul speech, advised that Francis will draw attention to the plight of the persecuted as well as warn against corruption and the arms trade, and underline the importance of interfaith dialogue. Many Muslims, he said, have been freely helping in preparing for the event.
Archbishop Najeeb also said he disagrees with some who think the visit should be postponed due to spikes in COVID cases and recent militant attacks. “If there were no violence, no problems in Iraq, why should he come here?” he said. “It would make no sense.”
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