Pope Francis in Land of Abraham: ‘Violence is Betrayal of Religion’

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Currents News Staff

This song from the book of Genesis marked the start of the interreligious meeting in Ur of the Chaldeans, where the patriarch Abraham, father of the three monotheistic religions, makes his first appearance in the bible. Then this part of the Quran was intoned.

Ur is considered the common place of origin of Christians, Jews and Muslims. That’s why the pope chose this place for an interreligious meeting. During the event, these two young men shared their testimony, showing that being from different religions doesn’t make friendship impossible.

“Our story shows that we can work together and that we can be friends,” Hasan said.

“We would like many other Iraqi people to make the same experience,” said Dawood. “We don’t want war and violence and hatred.”

In the middle of the war, Rafah, a Mandaean woman, witnessed her children, brothers and relatives fleeing. But she says the tragedy strengthened the bonds between those who stayed.

“Together we subsist through the war’s ruins on the same soil,” said Rafah Husein Baher. “Our blood was mixed. Together we tasted the bitterness of the embargo. We have the same identity.”

From the land of Abraham, source of faith, the Holy Father said that “God is merciful and that the greatest blasphemy is to profane his name by hating our brothers and sisters.”

“Hostility, extremism and violence are not born of a religious heart: they are betrayals of religion,” the pontiff said. “We believers cannot be silent when terrorism abuses religion; indeed, we are called unambiguously to dispel all misunderstandings.”

To conclude the meeting, representatives of the three monotheistic religions joined together for the Prayer of the Sons and Daughters of Abraham.