Pope Francis was speaking to journalists onboard his return flight from the UAE yesterday
Pope Francis, reflected on a historic trip visit to the UAE, on his way back to the Vatican, calling it “a big experience”.
“I saw a modern country… I was impressed by the city [Abu Dhabi] and of its cleanliness,” the head of the Catholic Church said.
Pope Francis remarked that he was in awe of answers to his questions such as, “How do they water the flowers in the desert?”
“[They] look to the future, always," he said. “"In the near future, they will try to make seawater drinkable they are doing the same with water from humidity… the country is always looking into new things.”
During his visit Pope Francis met with the Grand Imam of Cairo’s Al Azhar mosque and university, one of the oldest and most significant Islamic institutions in the Arab World.
With the Imam, the Pope signed the Abu Declaration for Human Fraternity, a far-reaching pledge by the leaders of both faiths to advance inter-faith harmony through education, minority and gender rights, and the promotion of peace around the world.
The declaration was the result of “a lot of prayer and reflection,” by both leaders, he said.
“There is only one great danger in this moment in time: Destruction, war, and hatred between us [as human beings], and if we, as believers, are not able to extend each other a hand, and hug each other, then our faith will be defeated.
The Pontiff also pointed out that some had criticised the document as “a step backwards” and that he had been accused of “being manipulated by Muslims.”
“Not only by Muslims, They accuse me of being manipulated by everyone, even by journalists. But that is part of the work,” he said.
“But I want to say one thing clearly… From the Catholic Church’s point of view, the document doesn’t move one millimeter from the Second Vatican Council, which has also been quoted several times within the document. It’s a step forward," he said.
Pope Francis said, he was leaving the UAE with the impression that “the country was open and not closed… open to dialogue, to fraternity and peace."