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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis and Muslim leaders pledge to "demilitarize man's heart"

The inter-religious Human Fraternity Meeting took place in a special atmosphere. It was at dusk, in front of the monument of the Founder of the United Arab Emirates, Zayed bin Sultan Al- Nahayan. 

The Crown Prince of the Emirates, along with the Sunni spiritual guide and the pope began the meeting with this expressive gesture. The three arrived at the site holding hands.

The Crown Prince opened the meeting. Then, the Sunni Imam Al-Tayeb condemned manipulating of religion for war and terrorism, which has done so much damage to Islam. 

During his speech, the pope denounced the use of God's name to justify violence.

“In the name of God the Creator, all forms of violence are condemned without hesitation, because they are a serious desecration of the Name of God.”

Pope Francis said he came to the Emirates as a brother who seeks peace with other brothers. He said the name of the Creator who unites Christians and Muslims cannot be honored if every human life is not guarded. He also added that religions must immediately take action in this way.

“Actively contribute to 'demilitarizing' man's heart. War only creates misery. Before our eyes are its disastrous consequences. I am thinking particularly of Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya.”

The pope closed his speech by asking the participants in the meeting to do what unites them all: pray, pray for peace.

Then together with the Grand Imam Al-Tayeb, the pope signed a joint declaration for Universal Fraternity. It was an unprecedented and ambitious gesture. They made a list of rights that they will promote throughout the world. It says “faith leads a believer to see in the other a brother or sister to be supported and loved.” 

Both leaders pledge to protect and defend the rights of women, the elderly, children and minorities. They will also call on other world leaders to do the same.

Some 700 prominent figures from all the major religions participated in the Human Fraternity Meeting. The event was organized for the “Year of Tolerance” in the United Arab Emirates.