Unesco head and UAE minister say Pope’s Mosul visit ‘a clear message to the world'

Support from the UAE has been vital for the effort to rebuild Mosul's ancient heritage

The visit by Pope Francis to Iraq's Al Tahera Church sends a clear message to the world that harmony and cohesion is the way forward for humanity, UAE Minister of Culture and Youth and the Unesco director general said on Sunday.

During the historic papal visit, Noura Al Kaabi and Audrey Azoulay issued a statement welcoming the news. The UAE is funding a Unesco project to rebuild three historic religious sites in central Mosul, destroyed by ISIS terrorists who held the city.

“The Pope's visit to Al Tahera Church … sends a clear message to the world that harmony and cohesion between the followers of all religions is the only way for the advancement and progress of humanity, and the most effective means by which to address the increasing challenges facing the world,” the statement said.

Noura Al Kaabi, centre, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, speaks during a tour at the Iraq Museum in Baghdad. WAM

The visit spreads a message of peace and fraternity and counters the “divisive message spread by the group responsible for destroying Al Nouri Mosque, [and] the Al Saa’a and Al Tahera Churches”, they said.

All three sites were destroyed by ISIS and in the battle against the terror group.

The pair said the Pope’s visit to the Unesco project – and the site office nearby – was a “source of inspiration” to those working on the rebuilding effort.

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