Pope Francis meets Iraq’s top cleric

Iraqis have hailed a “historic” meeting between Pope Francis and the country’s most senior Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, at which both reiterated their commitment to religious tolerance.

The meeting came on the second day of the first-ever papal visit to Iraq, with the pope defying a second wave of coronavirus cases and renewed security fears to make a “long-awaited” trip to the country.

The meeting is one of the highlights of Francis’s four-day trip to war-scarred Iraq, where Sistani has played a key role in tamping down tensions in recent decades.

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