Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday appealed to political and religious leaders in Iraq and the world to help the conflict-ridden country in its reconstruction, and expressed solidarity with the Christian community and all victims of the violence there.
In his Sunday prayer in St. Peter's Square, Benedict also sent his "cordial greetings" to Muslims, who are celebrating the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, and wished them "serenity and peace."
The pope expressed worry for the "news coming out of Iraq on the very grave situation of insecurity and brutal violence to which many are subjected only because (they are) Shi'ites, Sunnis or Christians."
Benedict appealed to "the religious leaders, the political leaders, both local and of the world, to support those people on the path to reconstructing their homeland, in the search of a shared balance, in mutual respect, in the awareness that the plurality of its components is an integral part of its wealth."
"I perceive the great worry that runs through the Christian community and I intend to assure that I am close to it, as I am to all victims," the pope said.