Pope attends inter-religious meeting at UAE Founder's Memorial

 Pope attends inter-religious meeting at UAE Founder's Memorial
Pope Francis joined other spiritual leaders during an inter-religious meeting at the United Arab Emirates' Founder's Memorial on Monday (February 4) during his landmark visit to the Arabian Peninsula.

Francis met Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Egypt's Al-Azhar mosque and the most senior Muslim figure taking part in the visit, who called on Muslims in the Middle East to "embrace" local Christian communities, describing them as part of the nation and not a minority.

Tayeb and the pope signed a document of "human fraternity" which carried a message against religious extremism.

As the first pontiff to set foot in the UAE, which is playing a leading role in Yemen's conflict as part of a Saudi-led military coalition, the pope denounced the "logic of armed power" in Yemen, Syria and other Middle East wars.

Earlier on Monday, the pope was welcomed to the sprawling Presidential Palace for private talks with Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and other UAE leaders.

Priests and diplomats describe the UAE as one of the least restrictive environments in the Gulf for Christian worship, which is allowed in church compounds with special licenses.

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