The first weekend in March 2021 marked a seminal moment in Muslim-Christian relations and interreligious understanding, as His Holiness Pope Francis met Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani in Najaf Ashraf, Iraq.
Drawing on their lifelong dedication to the divine path, both religious leaders called for sustained cooperation and friendship between communities of faith. They stressed the importance of dialogue, the cultivation of mutual respect, and cooperation. The ethos of the meeting was reflected in the welcome message, from a saying by Imam Ali: “All people either share your faith or are like you in being created by God.”
The Imam Ali Chair at the Hartford Seminary, the first community funded academic chair for Shi’i Studies and Dialogue among Islamic Schools of Thought, welcomes the momentous exchange between His Holiness Pope Francis and Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani, celebrating this as an endorsement of its mission along with that of the Hartford Seminary to advance academic knowledge, to foster interreligious dialogue, and to galvanize cooperation of all peoples toward peace and justice worldwide.
Imam Ali Chair at the Hartford Seminary