Top Muslim leader lauds Pope Francis for refusing to identify Islam with violence

A senior Iranian religious leader lauded Pope Francis for refusing to identify Islam with violence even after extremists brutally murdered a French Catholic priest in the name of Allah.

Pope Francis speaks outside Saint Mary of Angels Basilica in the pilgrimage town of Assisi, central Italy, August 4, 2016. | Reuters/Remo Casilli

Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi of Qom shared Sunday on his official website a letter he's written for the 79-year-old leader of the Roman Catholic Church. Notable in the Grand Ayatollah's remarks were his expressions of delight and gratitude for Pope Francis' previous statements regarding Islam.

The top Muslim cleric also shared sentiments condemning the Normandy church attack as well as other crimes committed by the Takfiri sects or Muslim groups accusing other Muslims as apostates.

"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," wrote the Grand Ayatollah, according to a full letter translated and published by The Tablet. "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."

The Argentine pope made the lauded remarks on July 31 while on the papal plane on his way back to the Vatican after his visit to Kraków, Poland where he attended the five-day celebration of World Youth Day.

Pope Francis also previously declared the world at war, following the Normandy church attack orchestrated by two teenage extremists whom the Islamic State militia hailed as one of its soldiers. Yet, the pope clarified that the war he referred to didn't mean a religious war.

The Catholic leader pointed out that even Catholics have their own share of violent people and crimes and that terrorism grows when one makes a god out of one's obsession for money.

The Grand Ayatollah agreed with Pope Francis that "such barbaric acts have nothing to do with divinely-sent religions and their various schools of thought."

"Rather, they originate from the inferior materialistic objectives of some corrupt superpowers who seek nothing but to obtain more illegitimate wealth," he said.

The Grand Ayatollah also added that Muslim scholars from across the globe held two International congresses to warn the world of the imminent dangers posed by the Takfiri terrorist groups and that such groups only survived because of the aid provided by "some corrupt superpowers."