Pope and Grand Imam kiss, call for peace

Pope and Grand Imam kiss, call for peace

Pope and Grand Imam kiss, call for peace

Pope Francis became the first pontiff to deliver Mass in the Arabian Peninsula, the birthplace of Islam, on Tuesday, speaking in front of tens of thousands of people in Abu Dhabi at the end of a historic visit to the United Arab Emirates.

Pope Francis, who is on a historic three-day trip to the United Arab Emirates, told the crowd of Catholics and Muslims to take inspiration from Saint Anthony the Abbot, the founder of monasticism in the desert.

An overwhelming number of them have something in common: they are all migrants.

He added that following Christ doesn't mean "always being cheerful", saying that one "who is afflicted, who suffers injustice, who does everything he can to be a peacemaker, knows what it means to suffer". "It is most certainly not easy for you to live far from home, missing the affection of your loved ones, and perhaps also feeling uncertainty about the future", he said.

"The Lord is faithful and does not abandon his people", Pope Francis said.

"Without freedom, we are no longer children of the human family, but slaves", Francis said.

Prayers were said in multiple languages such as Tagalog, which is spoken by many people in the Philippines, and Konkani, spoken in parts of India.

The pope's highly publicised 48-hour visit to the United Arab Emirates will also include an open-air mass on Tuesday for 135,000 of the Muslim country's million Catholic residents, set to be the largest public gathering in country's history.

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Although there has been no official comment from Riyadh, the pope has featured on the front pages of some of the main newspapers, which ran pictures of Francis's meetings with the grand imam of Al-Azhar in Abu Dhabi on Monday and UAE officials.

We "resolutely declare that religions must never incite war, hateful attitudes, hostility and extremism, nor must they incite violence or the shedding of blood", the document reads. The law also prohibits mosque employees from preaching and teaching religious lessons outside of mosques.

Pope rejected "hatred and violence" in the name of God.' The pontiff, who met with the world's top Sunni Muslim cleric in Abu Dhabi, said 'every form of violence must be condemned without hesitation.

It was a reference to the UAE's often-stated claims of tolerance - it has a minister for tolerance, is hosting the interfaith meeting Francis is attending and has declared 2019 to be its "Year of Tolerance".

"There is no alternative: we will either build the future together or there will not be a future", Francis told Abu Dhabi's powerful crown prince and hundreds of imams, muftis, ministers, rabbis and swamis gathered in the Emirati capital at a time when the UAE-backed Saudi war in Yemen has driven the Arab world's poorest country to the brink of starvation. Many of those adherents are foreigners who arrived in search of work in a country whose population is comprised mostly of foreigners.

The conference and the pope's appearance are all part of the Emirates' Year of Tolerance and its effort to show its openness to other faiths. "Crosses can't be seen in public, and conversion from Islam is a crime punishable by death". People chanted "Pope Francis" and "Viva El Papa" as he waved at them aboard the popemobile.

In his homily, the Pope praised the crowd as "a choir composed of numerous nations, languages and rites".

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