Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 27 October 2020

The Pope in the UAE

Historic visit of Pope and Grand Imam praised by political and religious leaders

Pope Francis and Dr Ahmed Al Tayeb promoted a message of a peace and solidarity during their UAE tour

Pope Francis took part in a Mass attended by 150,000 people in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. Courtesy of Ministry of Presidential Affairs
Pope Francis took part in a Mass attended by 150,000 people in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. Courtesy of Ministry of Presidential Affairs

Senior religious and political leaders have united in praise of the momentous visit to the UAE by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Dr Ahmed Al Tayeb.

Two of the world's most revered and influential religious figures took part in a series of discussions aimed at bolstering links between faiths while in the capital, before launching the document of Human Fraternity, a comprehensive charter promoting the principles of peace, equality and justice for all.

Pope Francis concluded the first ever tour of the Gulf region by a sitting pontiff by presiding over an open-air mass attended by 150,000 fervent followers at Zayed Sports City Stadium.

The Pope and Grand Imam both departed the UAE on Tuesday - but their visit will linger long in the memory and leave a lasting legacy.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and chairman of the National Media Council, said the history-making visit by the two religious leaders reflects the true brotherhood and co-existence to be found in the UAE.

Dr Al Jaber said the country is built on "noble humanitarian principles" and is an "oasis of peaceful co-existence".

The minister praised government leaders for successfully organising the landmark visit.

Bishop Miguel Ayuso Guixot, a Roman Catholic clergyman from Spain, said the Human Fraternity Document signed by the Pope and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar is a "breath of fresh air" and an "historical moment to witness".

While aboard the papal flight to Rome, the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue said the document is an appeal to the goodwill of people all over the world.

"The signing of the Human Fraternity Document in Abu Dhabi is an appeal, which means that there exists today a wounded humanity. Therefore, it is an appeal to people of goodwill, but also a duty for every being that we must absolutely seek mutual ways of collaboration and knowledge," he said.

"It was a historical moment, that will always be remembered, and we can always turn back to the signing in Abu Dhabi, remembering the core aim to better humanity, together," the bishop told state news agency, Wam.

Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, chairwoman of the General Women's Union and the Family Development Foundation, described the UAE as a "capital of peace" following the papal visit.

She called on countries to promote the values of tolerance and love and enter into civilised dialogue, to reject violence and extremism.

Members of the Federal National Council also expressed pride at the presence of the two global figures in the UAE.

Updated: February 5, 2019 08:52 PM

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