A hug is the usual greeting among friends, and the sign of welcome the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar used when he saw Pope Francis. Ahmed al Tayyeb told Pope Francis that he looked very well.
The rector of Al-Azhar University visited Rome to participate in the Congress on the Protection of Minors especially through digital media.
The president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, Cardinal Ayuso Guixot, accompanied the Imam and his delegation to the meeting with Pope Francis.
They are members of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity that work in compliance with the document on human fraternity the Imam and the pope signed together in February in Abu Dhabi.
Pope Francis was presented with the “Abraham Family House” project that would build a large complex for the three Abrahamic religions in Abu Dhabi. It includes two museums and three buildings: a mosque, a synagogue, and a church dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi.
The pope listened intently to the explanations about the macro-complex and then the exchanging of gifts began.
The Imam gifted Pope Francis a delicate figure with drawings about life in the Egyptian Desert.
For the Imam, the pope gave him an engraving whose meaning he explained. He then added a touch of humor to the encounter...
“This is an allegory. There is a plant of the vine, the dove, and the olive, with the message: “Be messengers of peace”...and I don't know if you know this guy.”