Pope on his Abu Dhabi visit: “a new page in the history of relations between religions”
Pope Francis sent this video message to the United Arab Emirates. He is the first pope to travel to the Arab peninsula. There he will attend an inter-religious meeting.
“Peace be with you!”
“I am happy that the Lord has given me this opportunity to write, on your land, a new page in the history of relations between religions confirming that we are brothers and sisters, even though we are different.”
The pope was invited by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, who governs the country and visited the Vatican in 2016. In the UAE, they will both participate in an inter-religious meeting on “Human Brotherhood.” It has been organized to promote tolerance.
The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University in Cairo will also be attending this meeting. He is a friend of the pope and is the spiritual leader of the Sunni Muslims. He is also president of the Muslim Council of Elders, which was created by Emirates.
“I thank my friend and dear brother the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, and all those who collaborated in the preparation of the meeting. For their courage and desire to affirm that faith in God unites and does not divide, it brings us closer despite differences. It distances us from hostility and aversion.”
In his message to the United Arab Emirates, Pope Francis said it is “a land that seeks to be a model of coexistence, human brotherhood and encounter between different civilizations and cultures.”
The country has approximately one million citizens. However, it is also home to nine million people who live there for work, many of them are Christians. For this reason, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in a stadium with around 130,000 people.