At Birthplace of Abraham in Iraq, Pope Francis Advocates Interfaith Tolerance

Pope Francis is seen at the site of the ancient Iraqi city of Ur, March 6, 2020.

March 7, 2021

Pope Francis made a historic visit on Saturday the site of the ancient Iraqi city of Ur, where Abraham — the common patriarch of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions — was born.

“From this place, where faith was born, from the land of our father Abraham, let us affirm that God is merciful and that the greatest blasphemy is to profane his name by hating our brothers and sisters,” the pontiff said. “Hostility, extremism and violence are not born of a religious heart: they are betrayals of religion.”

He added, “We are believers and as believers mustn’t stand silent when we see terrorism, when terrorism takes hold of religion for its own gain. It is up to us as religious men and women to destroy evil. We cannot have the light of God be darkened as it has been in this country, where war, violence and terrorism has brought darkness.”

Pope Francis is in the midst of a four-day trip to Iraq, the first-ever by a pope to the war-torn Middle Eastern country.

In addition to Ur, his itinerary includes stops in Baghdad, Najaf, Mosul, Qaraqosh, and Erbil.