Pope and grand imam sign declaration on human fraternity

Pope Francis and the Grand Imam al-Azhar signed a declaration on human fraternity during the first-ever papal visit to the Arabian peninsula last week.

They signed the declaration in front of a global audience of religious leaders from Christianity, Islam, Judaism and other faiths.

The declaration covers the need to work for peace, protect religious freedom, permit citizenship for all religions, and protect places of worship.

It also pledges that al-Azhar and the Vatican will work together to fight extremism. Claiming to be in the name of “all victims of wars, persecution and injustice”, it warns against a “third world war being fought piecemeal”.

It says: “We resolutely declare that religions must never incite war, hateful attitudes, hostility and extremism, nor must they incite violence or the shedding of blood”.

While he was visiting the peninsula – which is the birthplace of Islam – Francis called for an end to wars in the Middle East, naming Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya.

All religious leaders have a “duty to reject every nuance of approval from the word war”, he said.

During his visit, Francis also celebrated the first-ever Catholic Mass in the Arabian Peninsula.


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