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Shafaq News/ The office of the supreme religious authority of the Shiites in Iraq, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, announced that the latter received this morning Miguel Angel Moratinos, the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations in charge of developing the plan of action for the international organization to protect religious sites after the attacks that they were exposed to in various places in the world in recent years.
The office stated in a statement that Al-Sistani listened to the explanation he gave about that plan and the principles on which it is based and the procedures followed in this regard.
According to the same statement, the religious authority stressed during the meeting the importance of concerted efforts in promoting a culture of peaceful coexistence, rejecting violence and hatred, and establishing the values of harmony based on caring for rights and mutual respect between adherents of different religions and intellectual trends.
Al-Sistani pointed out that the tragedies suffered by many peoples and ethnic and social groups in many parts of the world - as a result of the intellectual and religious persecution practiced against them, the suppression of basic freedoms and the absence of social justice - played a role in the emergence of some extremist movements that use blind violence against defenseless civilians and attack their Religious centers and archaeological sites for others who differ with it in thought or belief.
The religious authority stressed the need to address the background of these phenomena, which are rejected and condemned in all cases, and to work hard to achieve a measure of justice and tranquility in various societies befitting human dignity as God Almighty wanted it, which contributes to reducing the atmosphere conducive to the spread of extremist ideas.
Al-Sistani expressed his appreciation for the efforts of the United Nations in this regard, wishing Moratinos success in performing his mission, and conveyed his greetings to Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.
In turn, the "UNAMI" mission in Iraq said in a statement that Moratinos explained to Sistani the "United Nations Action Plan for the Protection of Religious Sites: In Unity and Solidarity for Safe and Peaceful Worship," which was drawn up in 2019 in the wake of the church attacks in New Zealand. In Iraq, worshipers and shrines also suffered greatly.
The statement noted that the action plan is a global call to mobilize around the most basic principles of humanity, mercy and tolerance, to ensure that people are allowed to practice their faith and observe their rituals in peace. To this end, religious sites and places of worship and meditation must be true safe havens.
With the launch of the plan in 2019, the High Representative presented the action plan to His Holiness Pope Francis and His Eminence, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb.
Moratinos said that during today's meeting, three major religious leaders participated, represented through the Vatican, Cairo and Najaf.
The High Representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, Miguel Moratinos, expressed his full cooperation and support for any effort that contributes to building a peaceful, just and cohesive society based on mutual respect and human dignity.
Earlier today, the representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Iraq, Jeanine Blascharat, accompanied by Miguel Angel Moratinos, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, arrived in the city of Najaf to meet with the supreme religious authority, Ali al-Sistani.
This visit of Blaskharat to Najaf comes after previous visits she made more than a year ago, during which she met the supreme religious authority of the Shiites in Iraq, Ali al-Sistani, and the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, as well as local officials.
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