Officially announcing the relevance of peace and prosperity for the coming era, Pope Francis visited United Arab Emirates in February, 2019. It was in fact the first time that a Roman Catholic pontiff visited peninsular Arabia. The phases of this particular visit are of intercontinental significance. The Shia-Sunni factor in Middle East, globalization, the Syrian war, terrorism and refugee crisis to name a few.
During his speech at the Founder’s Memorial-Abu Dhabi, Pope Francis called for an end to warfare. Francis had broken anathemas on the trip by mentioning sensitive topics such as Yemen and the issue of citizenship rights for minority groups in the Middle East. The two-day Conference in Abu Dhabi, a gathering of 600 religious leaders have participants of all denominations including Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains. The summit equates with Pope Francis signing with the Grand Imam of Al Azhar- Ahmad Al Tayyeb, of a document committing them both working to build Human Fraternity.
Pope Francis and the Grand Imam called on their co-religionists to “stop using religion to incite hatred, violence, extremism, and blind fanaticism and to refrain from using the name of God to justify acts of murder, exile, terrorism and oppression.” The declaration asserted: “The concept of citizenship is based on equality of rights and duties, under which all enjoy justice. It is therefore crucial to establish in our societies the concept of full citizenship and reject the discriminatory use of the term minorities which engenders feelings of isolation and inferiority.”
Emissary of Peace
While peace and more peace are a crucial for the Middle East, the western oriented rulers in the terrain are increasingly cooperating with Israel. Whereas Turkey and Iran opposing the interventions of Israel and western powers in the Arab land; as the neocon enemy Russia, assert its influence in the ME by cooperating with Iran, Turkey and war-torn Syria; well, affairs of Middle East are complex and confusing. Almost every region in the world is more or less affected by conflicts, occurring simultaneously with global economic uncertainties and trade wars between leading powers. As a global citizen, the role of Pope as a diplomat and peace maker is vital.
Earlier this year Pope Francis told the ambassadors accredited to the Vatican that his visit to the UAE and upcoming trip to Morocco “represent two important opportunities to advance interreligious dialogue and mutual understanding between the followers of both religions in this year that marks the 800th anniversary of the historic meeting between Saint Francis of Assisi and Sultan al-Malik al-Kāmil.” In Abu Dhabi, Pontiff didn’t skip words, “Human fraternity requires of us, as representatives of the world’s religions, the duty to reject every nuance of approval from the word ‘war.’ Let us return it to its miserable crudeness. Its fateful consequences are before our eyes,” naming Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya.
Frame Of Reference
Vatican and Pope are on the practical sphere by taking spirited initiatives to save populations from extremists. Situations of current geopolitics demand a federated world society to fix the challenges facing by human race. A new order of things is necessary to lead humanity forward, an order which appreciate co-existence with nature and union between nations and faith systems. “There is no alternative: We either build the future together or there will not be a future,” Pope Francis said to participants at the high-level inter-religious meeting in Abu Dhabi. Pope also stated that “a simpler and more orderly way of life in which the resources of creation are used with wisdom and moderation, with concern for humanity as a whole and for coming generations, not simply the interests of our particular group and the benefits of the present moment.”
In this multi polar world, where east is gradually catching up with west in every aspect, possibilities persist that the international political power play will turn up the heat to cause irreversible damages to our earth. Primarily, it is the responsibility of religious leaders to guide the societies and nations. “The time has come when religions should more actively exert themselves, with courage and audacity and without pretense, to help the human family deepen the capacity for reconciliation, the vision of hope and the concrete paths of peace,” Pope Francis remarked.
Pradeep Peter Alleluia is a freelance journalist who regularly writes blog about international affairs. He is also an investigative historian and philosopher who traveled vastly around globe, including Russia, Australia, Middle East and Singapore. Currently residing in India, his articles are constantly published by reputed news portals.