Al-Azhar grand imam meets with Pope Francis in pontiff's first visit to Gulf

Ahram Online , Monday 4 Feb 2019

Tayeb, Pope
Egypt's Al-Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayyeb meets Pope Francis in Abu Dhabi on Monday February 4, 2019 (Photo: Al-Ahram)

The Grand Imam of Egypt's Al-Azhar Ahmed El-Tayyeb is meeting on Monday with Roman Catholic Pope Francis, who is currently in the UAE in his first-ever visit to the Arabian Peninsula.

The pope is attending the UAE's Global Conference for Human Fraternity, which will be held on February 3-5. 

Pope Francis will meet on Monday afternoon with a group of Muslim religious leaders to discuss the issue of religious tolerance.

During Monday’s meetings, the pope will be accompanied by El-Tayyeb, who welcomed and embraced the pope upon his arrival in Abu Dhabi.

The pope had previously met the imam five times, including during his trip to Egypt last year, where he addressed El-Tayyeb as his “dear brother” in a video message prior to the trip.

On Saturday, Al-Azhar – the Sunni Muslim world’s foremost institute of religious learning – released a statement describing Monday’s meeting as “historic” and praised the “deeply fraternal relationship” between El-Tayyeb and the pope.

The pope arrived in Abu Dhabi on Sunday where he was welcomed by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the UAE news agency WAM reported.

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