Pope Francis and Grand Imam kiss for world peace

After signing a document for world peace, Pope Francis and the grand imam of Egypt’s Al-Alzhar Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb embraced each other and kissed as they called for world peace.

The two religious leaders on Monday met at an inter-religious meeting in Abu Dhabi. They expressed hopes for world’s peace and human understanding.

The document on “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” was signed in the name of “all victims of wars, persecution and injustice; and those tortured in any part of the world, without distinction”.

“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 read.

The grand Imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar mosque and university, called on the Muslims in West Asia to “embrace” local Christian communities while telling the Christians that they are “citizens of this nation with full rights and responsibilities”.

“Continue to embrace your brothers the Christian citizens everywhere, for they are our partners in our nation,” said the grand imam, who is the highest seat of learning in Sunni Islam.

ope Francis shakes hands with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis as well called for full religious freedom in the Muslim- majority region, where there are restrictions on non-Muslim adherents. He charged them to promote “concrete paths of peace” where people of different religions will have to come together, he said.

The Pope and the Grand Imam state that “major political crises, situations of injustice and lack of equitable distribution of natural resources – which only a rich minority benefit from, to the detriment of the majority of the peoples of the earth – have generated, and continue to generate, vast numbers of poor, infirm and deceased persons. This leads to catastrophic crises that various countries have fallen victim to despite their natural resources and the resourcefulness of young people which characterize these nations. In the face of such crises that result in the deaths of millions of children – wasted away from poverty and hunger – there is an unacceptable silence”.

“Al-Azhar and the Catholic Church ask that this Document become the object of research and reflection in all schools, universities and institutes of formation”. As they hope that the Declaration will become a “sign of the closeness between East and West, between North and South.”

Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb had also hosted Pope Francis in 2017 to improve relations between Catholics and Muslims.

Pope Francis on Tuesday celebrated the first-ever papal mass on the Arabian peninsula.

Pope Francis arrived Abu Dhabi on Sunday as Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan welcomed him in a grand ceremony.