In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

His Holiness Pope Francis,

Honorable Head of the State of Vatican

Greetings with respect and appreciation

Your valuable letter on the occasion of the second anniversary of your historical trip to Iraq and meeting with you in Najaf Ashraf satisfied me; an important meeting that became a motivation and incentive for many followers of Islam and Christianity as well as others to be adorned with the values of tolerance and good coexistence with people who have different religions and beliefs.

In this valuable letter, you pointed to some issues that we emphasized in that important meeting, including the importance of synergy of efforts in order to propagate a culture of peaceful coexistence and fight against violence and hate speech, and stabilize the values of love and affection among people based on observing the rights and mutual respect among followers of different religions and intellectual approaches.

I agree with you on the necessity to make more efforts to defend the oppressed in different regions of the world and I believe that the tragedies and problems that many people, racial and social groups in many regions in the East and West of the world suffer as a result of intellectual and religious oppression and suppression of basic freedoms and lack of social justice are effective on the emergence of some extremist movements; the movements that do not refuse oppression to people having different thoughts and opinions.

Meanwhile, I believe it is important that everyone attempts to eliminate these cruelties and tries with all his/her might to realize justice and trust in different societies properly, as this will certainly be effective on preventing the manifestation of hate speech and violence.

Here, it is important to emphasize once again the basic role of faith in God Almighty and the Holy books and fidelity to high moral values in overcoming the great challenges facing humanity in this age as well as the urgent need to enjoy healthy spiritual aspects and preserve the family and the values based on which God has created the human nature and observe piety with which humans attain divine dignity, as stated in the Holy Quran (most honorable of you in God’s sight is the one best in piety). Allah has inspired a major portion of it to humanity’s soul: (And [by] the soul and He who proportioned it, and inspired it [with discernment of] its wickedness and its righteousness, He has succeeded who purifies it).

In the end, I repeat my prayer and supplication to Almighty God to inspire all of us to act properly in speech and action, and grant good, prudence and peace to all humanity as deserves his extensive compassion and unbounded forgiveness.

I also wish you good health and safety and hope you recover from your recent illness.

Najaf Ashraf, on the fourteenth of the sacred month of Dhul-Hijjah 1444 AH corresponding to 3/7/2023 AD
Ali Al-Husseini Al-Sistani