King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain invited the Pope, the grand Imam of Al Azhar and hundreds of faith leaders from all over the world.
He wanted to show the world that his country is a model of how faiths can live side by side.
In the grand gathering on Friday morning outside the king’s palace, thousands of guests assembled in colourfully decorated marques.
The King opened the assembly by welcoming the two faith leaders and spoke of the need to end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
He stated a “serious discussion for the welfare of all humanity.” The second speaker, Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar mosque and university, agreed with this statement.
Pope Francis spoke last and urged religious leaders that gathered in Bahrain to work to save the world from “the edge of a perilous precipice.”
His four-day-long visit to Manama, Bahrain, was to promote Catholic-Muslim dialogue in the government-sponsored interfaith conference. The visit continues the Pope’s policy of improving ties with the Islamic world.
On his first full day in Bahrain, Pope Francis gave a speech to close a conference on East-West interaction. A snippet of the speech follows;
“After two terrible world wars, a cold war that for decades kept the world in suspense, catastrophic conflicts taking place in every part of the globe, and in the midst of accusations, threats and condemnations, we continue to find ourselves on the brink of a delicate precipice and we do not want to fall,” he said in a gleaming marble courtyard of the royal palace.