Pope Francis on Sunday visited parts of northern Iraq that were once held by the Islamic State, including Mosul. "How cruel it is that this country, the cradle of civilization, should have been afflicted by so barbarous a blow, with ancient places of worship destroyed and many thousands of people — Muslims, Christians, Yazidis — who were cruelly annihilated by terrorism," Francis said in Mosul while surrounded by four hollowed-out churches nearly destroyed in the war to oust ISIS. "Today, however, we reaffirm our conviction that fraternity is more durable than fratricide, that hope is more powerful than hatred, that peace more powerful than war." Francis will conclude his day by presiding over a large Mass in Irbil in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. Francis traveled to Iraq for a multi-day visit to show support for the country's dwindling Christian minority and urge interreligious tolerance.
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