Religious leaders to have interfaith dialogue with Pope Francis

Pope Francis

ABU DHABI – Pope Francis’ upcoming historic visit to Abu Dhabi, which will begin on Feb. 5, will bring together many prominent leaders from Islam, Christianity, and Judaism from various parts of the region.

According to local media reports, these leaders will discuss ways to improve interfaith relations and promote dialogue. The meeting will be part of the series of events planned on the sidelines of the Pope’s visit to the UAE, which would be his first to the Gulf region.

Pope Francis is also scheduled to hold a meeting with Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Sheikh of Al-Azhar, which organizes meetings of more than 600 spiritual leaders representing different religions.

Mansour Al-Mansouri, director general of the National Media Council of the UAE, said that the Pope’s historic visit “reflects the spirit of tolerance of the UAE.”

He said that residents in the United Arab Emirates have embraced 76 churches and temples belonging to different religious beliefs. Al-Mansouri said that the Pope’s visit would attract great media attention, as this is the first visit of its kind to the region.

The pope will lead a mass in Abu Dhabi, which is likely to be attended by 135,000 Catholics from the UAE and other parts of the region.

Secretary General of the Council of Muslim Scholars, Dr. Sultan Al-Rumaithi, said that the meeting would include discussions on the principles of religions, what they have in common, as well challenges and opportunities.

He also highlighted the importance of tolerance, which he said, is an integral part of Islam. — Al Arabiya English