Pope Francis to address Islamic Council to improve relations between Christians and Muslims
Pope Francis has been invited to address the United Arab Emirates' Islamic council in efforts to improve relations between Christians and Muslims.
A series of talks, attended by the UAE's Muslim Council of Elders, have been organised to build bridges between the two religions. Vatican officials suggested the pontiff could be invited to speak at the next round of talks which will take place in either Cairo or the Vatican.
Dr Ali Al Nuaimi, chairman of the UAE Islamic council said there was a desire from the Holy See to "correct the image of Islam and Muslims in Christian society".
He suggested this was seen when the pope welcomed Dr Ahmed El Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, to the Vatican.
Francis was photographed embracing the senior Islamic cleric before speaking privately to him in his office.
"Usually the pope does not receive any guest in his office on his own. He always has the cardinal and other officials seated on the side," said Al Nuaimi. The gesture of hospitality was accompanied by the pope awarding the grand imam with the medal of peace. "These things would not have happened two years ago," said Al Nuaimi.