Pope Francis visits UAE

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By Emily Drooby

Pope Francis spoke of peace at an interreligious meeting during his three-day trip to Abu Dhabi. He said, “We are here to desire peace, to promote peace, to be instruments of peace.”

Pope Francis condemned violence in the name of religion as he spoke to hundreds of religious leaders and scholars. He said, “…every form of violence must be condemned without hesitation, because we gravely profane God’s name when we use it to justify hatred and violence against a brother or sister. No violence can be justified in the name of religion.”

Discussing the importance of dialogue and prayer and criticizing the arms race, specifically mentioning the crisis in Yemen.

Pope Francis said, “Human fraternity requires of us, as representatives of the world’s religions, the duty to reject every nuance of approval from the word “war”…I am thinking in particular of Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya.”

This speech, happening during the first papal trip ever to the Arabian Peninsula. It kicked off Sunday after the Pope landed at the Abu Dhabi Presidential Airport.

On Monday the Holy Father attended a welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace, his small Kia car greeted by cannons and music.

While at the palace, Pope Francis signed the Book of Honor and had a private meeting with government authorities including Abu Dhabi’s crown prince who tweeted that they discussed quote, “enhancing cooperation, consolidating dialogue, tolerance, human coexistence & important initiatives to achieve peace, stability and development for peoples and societies.”

Pope Francis also touring the Grand Mosque of Sheik Zayed and attending a private meeting with members of the Muslim Council of Elders. Also signing a Human Fraternity Document which calls for inter-faith harmony and the spreading of peace. The goal of this historic trip, to strengthen ties with the Muslim world.