Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi wrote a letter to Pope Francis. What follows is the English translation of this letter:
In the Name of Allah,
To His Eminence Pope Francis
The Leader of the Catholic world
I am really delighted to have heard your comments during your last trip to Poland in which you stated “Islam is not equal to terrorism” and further dismissed the association of violence and harshness with any and all divinely-sent religions. Your wise and logical stance regarding Islam in disassociating the religion from the inhumane actions and atrocities of the Takfiri groups such as Daesh is truly admirable.
Indeed, it is absolutely necessary that the world’s religious leaders take clear and strong stances against violence and barbarity in any part of the world, particularly when such acts are committed in the name of religion.
I strongly condemn the Takfiris’ vicious terrorist attack on the French Church which led to the cruel murder of a priest. I also declare, as I have already said in my previous letter to you, that all of the scholars of the Muslim world as well as the vast majority of the Muslim people consider all Takfiri sects to be outside the fold of Islam. We also consider these Takfiri groups as the world’s worst crisis in the present era. It is worth noting that we have been warning the world of this great danger for years.
During the last two years, we have held two International congresses in the holy city of Qom on the “dangers posed by the deviation of the Takfiri movements” in which numerous prominent Islamic figures along and scholars from 80 different countries took part. During the events, all Muslim scholars unanimously condemned any and all forms of violence, terrorism and murder of innocent people under the name of religion, and announced such actions as absolutely denounced by the Islamic laws. They also warned those merciless, ignorant and murderous minorities that their path ends in Hell!
Undoubtedly, the Takfiri terrorist groups would have been destroyed by now, had it not been for the support and aid that they receive from some corrupt superpowers.
As you have also clearly stated, such barbaric acts have nothing to do with divinely-sent religions and their various schools of thought. Rather, they originate form the inferior materialistic objectives of some corrupt superpowers who seek nothing but to obtain more illegitimate wealth. Fortunately, public awareness has been raised regarding such extremist and terrorist groups, and we can be hopeful that such actions will finally come to an end.
In the end, I pray to Allah the almighty for your success in spreading kindness, peace and spirituality in the world.
Naser Makarem Shirazi, Qom