Liaison office of Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Al Sistani (L.M.H.L) in London, Europe, North and South America.

Shafaqna : The Pope stresses to Ayatullah Seestani his rejection to insulting Islam and praises his support for Christians

Shafaqna: Pope Benedict the 16th stressed to the Supreme Shia Marja’ in Iraq his rejection to insulting Islam and expressed his appreciation for the support extended by the Marja’ to the county’s Christians and his refusal to target them.

This came in a letter handed to the Marja’ today by the Vatican’s ambassador Georgio Lingo, who headed a high-level delegation representing Iraqi Christians, visiting the Holy city of Najaf (160km south of Baghdad).

In a press conference after the meeting with Marja’ Seestani the ambassador said the aim of his visit is to “present Pope Benedict’s letter to Seestani and through him to the other Maraji’ in Najaf - when visiting the middle east, Lebanon, a few weeks ago” during which he refused the insult to Islam in the light of the film “Innocence of Muslims”

He said the letter included the Pope’s praise and respect for Seestani’s stance and his support for heavenly religions in Iraq, especially, Christians. Adding the nature of the visit to Najaf is religious and fraternal and the aim of which is “for us to take pride in personality of Sayyid Seestani and the other Grand Maraji’ in Najaf and this visit calls for generating the spirit of fraternity and love between all religions.”

During the press conference the head of the Christian Endowment Bureau and other religions, Ra’ad Jalil Kejeji, said: “Sayyid Seestani has always stood by the Christians and his recommendations to all Iraqis is to stand united.”

He added, the Christian delegation has expressed its indignation to the recent insult to Islam and the Prophet “these actions are against the beliefs of all of us” stressing “the various Christian faiths in Iraq reject insulting the Islamic religion and its Prophet which is against our beliefs,” noting that the Marja’ Seestani “always stands by Christians and advises Iraqis to stand by them.”

Since 2003 the Christians in Iraq have been exposed to killings, kidnappings and displacement - leading thousands of them to leave Iraq and head for neighbouring Arab and European countries.