Pope Francis, the first Pontiff to visit the Arabian Peninsula, attended a hugely publicized interfaith meeting in the United Arab Emirates on February 4 as part of what the Vatican described as his “outreach to the Muslim world.” The following day he held an open-air Mass in Abu Dhabi, attended by 135,000 Catholic guest workers who are normally not allowed any public display of their faith.
The Pontiff’s address to the Muslim Council of Elders, a body set up by the UAE supposedly “to counter religious fanaticism by promoting a moderate brand of Islam,” was a melange of p.c. platitudes, banal and embarrassing in equal measure. He urged religious leaders to reject the “miserable crudeness” of war and called on religions to come together to resist the “logic of armed power . . . the arming of borders, the raising of walls.”
“There is no alternative: We will either build the future together or there will not be a future,” he continued. “God is with those who seek peace.”
The “Council of Elders” which Francis addressed is the brainchild of Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand imam of...