Ayatollah Khamenei hails Pope’s stances on strengthening Islam-Christianity interaction

In a message to Pope Francis, the leader urged him to continue to “defend oppressed peoples” across the world, particularly in Palestine and Yemen.

The message was conveyed to the supreme authority of the Catholic Church on Monday through Ayatollah Alireza Arafi, the head of Islamic seminaries in Iran, who was visiting the Vatican.

In the message, Ayatollah Khamenei praised some positions taken by the pontiff to strengthen the interaction between Islam and Christianity and speak on behalf of oppressed peoples around the world.

“We expect you to continue to work to defend the oppressed people of the world, especially in Palestine and Yemen, and to take a clear and transparent position in this regard,” the message reads.

He further noted that the leader of the Islamic Revolution expects action to be taken to defend the Palestinian people and believes that the Palestinian issue should be decided by the ethnic Palestinians in free elections with the participation of all natives, including followers of all religions.

Pope Francis, for his part, conveyed his warm greetings to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

Pope Francis and Ayatollah Arafi, during their meeting at the Vatican, stressed the need to strengthen synergy and cooperation between different religions, especially Islam and Christianity.

He also spoke about the challenges facing the contemporary world, oppression against nations, poverty and hunger, warmongering rhetoric, illegal occupation of sovereign states, organized oppression in international level, environmental crises and the rise of extremism, according to Hawzah News.

Ayatollah Arafi’s visit to the Vatican coincides with the commemoration of the 33rd anniversary of the death of Imam Khomeini, the late founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The prominent Iranian cleric had written a letter to Pope Francis in November 2020 expressing concern over the sacrilege committed by Western media and politicians against the Prophet Muhammad.

In response, Pope Francis said he was concerned about those affected by attacks and insults from religious figures, symbols and sentiments.

Iran and the Vatican established full diplomatic relations in 1954.

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