In Rudaw 

Mosul prepares to welcome Pope Francis

Mosul is preparing to welcome Pope Francis. The pontiff is expected to hold prayers for the victims of the Islamic State group (ISIS) in Hosh al-Bieaa (Church Square in English) on Sunday morning.

It was in Mosul that ISIS declared its so-called caliphate after seizing control of swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria in 2014. The group’s militants destroyed many holy places of both Muslims and non-Muslims. The war to expel the group from Mosul also wreaked havoc on the city.

In an interfaith event in Ur on Saturday, Pope Francis praised combined efforts to rebuild Mosul.

“I think of the young Muslim volunteers of Mosul, who helped to repair churches and monasteries, building fraternal friendships on the rubble of hatred, and those Christians and Muslims who today are restoring mosques and churches together,” the pope said.

The pope landed in Iraq on Friday and will visit the Kurdistan Region, Mosul, and Nineveh province on Sunday.