Grand Imam of Al Azhar and Pope Francis discuss coexistence

The two leaders will meet in Abu Dhabi in February

Pope Francis looks at a globe of the Earth during an audience for children and families of the Santa Marta dispensary on December 16, 2018 at the Vatican. / AFP / Vincenzo PINTO
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Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Dr Ahmed El Tayyeb, discussed coexistence and mutual respect in a telephone conversation on Monday.

Dr El Tayyeb greeted the pope and the world's Christian community in light of the upcoming Christmas holiday. The Sunni cleric also congratulate the pontiff on his 82nd birthday.

The strong ties between the pope and the Egyptian imam saw Dr El Tayyeb in Italy in October, for an interfaith forum in Bologna.

Pope Francis thanked the Grand Imam for the call, saying he was looking forward to meeting him in Abu Dhabi in February, where the Christian leader will celebrate a historic mass for the one-million strong Roman Catholic community in the UAE.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said the Pope is a symbol of peace and tolerance.

"We look forward to a historic visit, through which we will seek dialogue on the peaceful coexistence among peoples," he said.


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