FILE: Sheikh Ahmad el Tayyeb and Pope Francis
CAIRO – 26 January 2019: The Grand Imam of Al Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders Ahmad el Tayyeb will meet Pope Francis of the Vatican on February in the United Arab Emirates on Monday, Jan. 21.
The visit, which runs from 3-5 February, will include a series of activities and events between the two sides to promote the spread of world peace.
“This is the first visit of Pope Francis to the Arabian Gulf region,” WAM reported. The historic meeting between the two sides upon an invitation of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
The Pope is scheduled to perform a Mass at Zayed city on Feb. 5, with the participation of more than 135,000 people as well as meet members of the Council of Muslim. Pope Francis and Grand Imam will visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center and Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan grave.
This visit will be of particular importance to the UAE, which celebrates the year 2019 year of tolerance, which confirms its role in promoting stability and prosperity in the region, WAM added.
For his side, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said during his Twitter account that Pope Francis' visit to the UAE is a very important step for the Arab region and the world.
On April 2017, Pope Francis arrived in Cairo for a two-day visit; he met with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, Grand Azhar Imam, and Egypt’s Coptic Pope Tawadros II.
The visit aimed to foster reconciliation with the Muslim world following recent attacks against the Middle East’s biggest Christian community.
On November 2017, el Tayyeb held a meeting with Pope Francis of the Vatican at the papal headquarters in the Vatican. A statement issued by Al Azhar said that the meeting dealt with common issues between Al Azhar and the Vatican for supporting international peace.