Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb shared a hug during an Interreligious meeting at the Founder's Memorial at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. This was not only the Pope’s first visit to the Arabian nation but also the first-ever papal visit to that country. Pope Francis emphasized that religious leaders should say no to sorts of war and pledge themselves to talk things out.
The Pope’s arrival was a grand event. His three-day visit began with a massive welcome at the presidential palace. Reports said that Abu Dhabi’s crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan himself arrived to greet Francis. Besides the prince, the vice president and prime minister of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was also present for the ceremony. The Pope’s meeting with the Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb caught the attention of many as the two religious leaders hugged each other.
Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb and Francis also signed a document on “human fraternity for world peace and living together". As per reports, the document is described by the Vatican as an "important step forward in the dialogue between Christians and Muslims". Francis also held the first-ever papal mass at the Zayed Sports City Stadium, which saw about 135,000 people in attendance.