Iraq’s top Shiite cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called for preserving Interfaith “tolerance and coexistence”, and “family values” in a correspondence he sent to Pope Francis earlier today, Wednesday.
The letter, dated July 3, 2023, came in response to a letter by Pope Francis on the anniversary of their historic meeting in Iraq last year.
In his letter, Ayatollah al-Sistani underscored the urgent need for fostering peaceful coexistence, rejecting violence, and promoting mutual respect between followers of different religious beliefs.
Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani lauded the Pope’s efforts, stating, “that important meeting became an incentive for many followers of the Islamic and Christian faiths, and even others, to embody a greater degree of tolerance and good coexistence with those who differ with them in religion and creed.”
Drawing attention to the dire state of persecution and lack of social justice prevalent in many parts of the world, the Shiite cleric called for defending the oppressed people.
“It is important for everyone to give greater attention to redressing these grievances, and work to their utmost to achieve a decent level of justice and tranquility in various societies,” he added.
“The fundamental role of faith in Almighty God and His messages, and adherence to sublime ethical values, is essential in overcoming the significant challenges that humanity faces in this era,” he continued, “humanity is in urgent need for nourishing the proper spiritual and moral aspects, preserving the entity and values of the family as God has instilled in human nature, and nurturing piety, through which human beings attain divine dignity as stated in the Glorious Qur’an (Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you).”
He also extended his wishes for Pope Francis’ recovery from a recent ailment, offering prayers “that the Almighty God inspires us all in righteousness in speech and action, and bestows upon all humanity what befits His extensive mercy and limitless giving.”