ERBIL - Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Saturday announced the designation of 6th March as the National Day for Tolerance and Coexistence in celebration of the historic meeting between Pope Francis and Iraq's top Shia cleric Ali Sistani.
"In celebration of the historic meeting in Najaf between Ayatollah Ali AlSistani and Pope Francis, and the historic inter-religious meeting in the ancient city of Ur, we declare March 6 a National Day of Tolerance and Cooexistence in Iraq," PM Kadhimi wrote on Twitter.
Sistani received the Pope on Saturday in the shrine city of Najaf, southern Iraq, where the top Shia cleric briefed the Pontiff with challenges, caused by poverty, discrimination, and violence, facing the religious minorities in the world, especially in Palestine, a statement said by his office.
This was the first ever meeting between Pope Francis and Ali Sistani which lasted for about 45 minutes.
The Pope arrived in Baghdad on Friday where he was received by PM Kadhimi during an official ceremony.
He will also pay an official visit on Sunday to the Kurdistan Region where all preparations are almost concluded.
The Kurdistan Region has often been referred to as a typical example of safe havens for religious and ethnic groups, as well as, displaced people from different countries.