Pope returns from Iraq visit, criticises treatment of women Mar 09, 2021 0 342 12345 dpa BaghdadOn his return flight from Baghdad, Pope Francis reviewed his four-day trip to Iraq and criticised the treatment of women.The plane with the Vatican delegation that had been vaccinated against COVID-19 and more than 70 journalists landed in Rome on Monday afternoon.Speaking to journalists during the flight, the 84-year-old denounced the treatment of women on the occasion of International Women’s Day, which fell on Monday this year.The head of the Catholic Church said he could not believe it when he was shown lists on which women were offered for sale, just as the terrorist militia Islamic State had done with Yezidis.Human trafficking was taking place everywhere and also in the centre of Europe, he said. In Rome, he had met women who had been exploited and abused.“Women are more courageous than men, that’s the way it is,” the Argentinian pontiff noted.The tight programme with journeys across Iraq had been exhausting for him, the pope said.The ruins of houses of worship in the city of Mosul, destroyed during the war against Islamic State, and the meeting with the highest Shiite cleric in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, left a great impression on him, he continued.The meeting with the 90-year-old grand ayatollah had done him “good in his soul,” Francis said. Al-Sistani was a prudent and wise man and very respectful at the meeting behind closed doors in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf, he said.“He usually never stands up during visits, but he stood up twice with me,” the pope said.A document had not emerged at the meeting, as in Abu Dhabi with the grand imam of Egypt in 2019. At the time, the declaration was worked on in secret for more than six months in advance, Francis revealed. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Pakistan women rally for rights in defiance of religious hardliners Mar 09, 2021 0 282 Saudi confirms drone attack on its oil facility Mar 09, 2021 0 358 Afghanistan receives 468,000 vaccine doses Mar 09, 2021 0 822 Afghan leaders angered by Blinken on peace process dpa Washington Afghan politicians reacted angrily on Monday to the tone of a letter sent by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the government in Kabul that made suggestions about accelerating the peace process, .. Eight killed in fire at migrant facility in war-torn Yemen Sana’a: At least eight people died on Sunday and 170 others were injured in a fire at a holding facility for migrants in war-devastated Yemen, the UN migration agency said. “Eight people confirmed dead; the total death .. Israel starts vaccination of Palestinian workers dpa Tel Aviv The Israeli authorities have officially started COVID-19 vaccinations of Palestinians who have a work permit for Israel and the West Bank settlements. Vaccination stations have been set up at several .. Syrian president Assad, wife Asma test +ve for COVID Damascus: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma have tested positive for the coronavirus but are in good health, according to a statement from the presidency. They did a PCR test after experiencing “mild ..