The 85-year-old Grand Ayatollah did not talk to me as if I'm Sunni or Shia, Muslim or non-Muslim but just as a human being. I left his reception fully confident that Iraq is currently in safe hands so long as it continues to have wise men like him. However, what will happen after Sistani departs a fragile Iraq?
Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to meet with Iraq's leadership including Grand Ayatollah Sistani on 24 July. The meeting which is understood, in essence, to have been primarily a consultative one, is potentially a critical turning point in the United Nation's involvement in Iraq's steps towards democracy.
The ongoing debate between of what constitutes an artistic expression of free speech versus religious protection had recently been witnessed not in the public eye, but instead under the radar on social media. And the stirred-up controversy had been with none other than America's beloved pop music star Katy Perry.