#AskThePope: Why Are Iraqis Calling to Postpone Historic Papal Visit?

Published March 4th, 2021 - 06:58 GMT
Iraqis call Pope Francis to postpone his visit until the government fix and rebuild all the cities
A member of the Iraqi forces walks past a mural depicting Pope Francis waving next to an Iraqi national flag drawn on a blast wall outside the Syriac Catholic Church of Our Lady of Deliverance in the Karrada district of Iraq's capital Baghdad on March 1, 2021 amidst preparations ahead of the pontiff's visit. Sabah ARAR / AFP

Social media users have released Arabic and English hashtags “#AskThePope and #اطلب_من_البابا” as Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the country on Friday February 5th.

The hashtags have topped Facebook and Twitter super fast as activists called to postpone the papal visit. But why do they want to delay the historic coming visit?

Translation: “#AskThePope to stay in Iraq and move his residency from the Vatican as because of him Iraqi streets are being reconstructed; I hope he passes by Basra and solves the drinking water issue.”

After the Pope decided to visit Iraq, the government has rapidly started to rebuild and revive the country, which angered people as the citizens have been suffering an extended economic crisis since the start of the Iraqi war in 2003 and the fall of Saddam Hussein as well as ISIS attacks which are still going on till this moment.

Translation: “Can you please stay in Iraq for 5 years so the government fixes all the streets as whenever you leave the streets will go back to their old state.” 

The Iraqi government had in a short period released huge campaigns; to clean and rebuild roads, restored the electricity to several areas, reconstructed old churches which were destroyed by ISIS and revived life to forgotten sports in the country.

On the other hand, despite the latest rocket attacks on Iraqi Ain Al-Assad military base that hosts American soldiers and is located in the western desert on Wednesday February 3rd, the Pope has decided not to cancel his trip on Friday. Pope Francis stated he cannot disappoint people 'who have suffered so much'.

The Papal visit is to last for 3 days to support the country's Christian faithful after years of often violent repression by Islamic extremists including ISIS. He is set to visit several Iraqi locations where Chritcians suffered; including Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad which was the site of a massacre of Christians in 2010.

According to Pope Francis: 'The day after tomorrow, God willing, I will go to Iraq for a three-day pilgrimage. For a long time I have wanted to meet these people who have suffered so much.'

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