Pope Francis holds historic meeting with Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric

NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) – Pope Francis began a historic meeting with Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani on Saturday, in a powerful appeal for coexistence in a land torn by sectarianism and violence. Francis’s meeting in the holy southern city of Najaf, during a whirlwind and risky tour of Iraq, marked the first time a pope has met with such a senior Shi’ite cleric. State-owned Ekhbariya television showed the pope’s large convoy moving through Najaf, where children lined a street and waved Iraqi and Vatican flags at the leader of the world’s Catholics. The pope has visited p…

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