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Bahraini: humanity must bring us together, religion must not pull us apart

A Bahraini national attending some of the Pope’s events during his Apostolic Journey reflects on the importance of the Pope’s visit for interreligious dialogue and recalls the Catholic education that many Bahrainis received.

By Devin Watkins and Francesca Merlo

Among the over 110 different nationalities represented by the thousands of faithful taking part in the Pope’s 39th Apostolic Journey to Bahrain, were, of course, Bahrainis.  Khaled Ali, a Bahraini of Muslim faith, spoke to Devin Watkins as the Pope’s visit drew to a close describing it as an “historic” one, and noting that the Holy Father’s presence in the country has been long awaited.

He recalled that a lot of Bahrainis of his generation attended the Sacred Heart School, which the Pope visited on Friday, and were taught by Catholic nuns. “For us, this visit is just an extension of what we started many years ago”, and a demonstration that Bahrain is a place where Catholics, but also people from all other religions, “have been welcomed”. 

Dialogue between religions

Mr. Ali went on to speak about dialogue between religions, and he upheld the message the Holy Father brought with him in this regard. He described interreligious dialogue between religions as “a must”, adding, “especially in our times”.

“The reason that dialogue between religions is so important is that it brings together the religious leaders that people follow” and whose messages they believe in, he said. In the past, Mr. Ali noted, there have been religious leaders that have not entertained the concept of dialogue. But this is not the case right now, he said, explaining that “with Pope Francis and the Grand Imam coming together, starting from the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity, up to this point, we find that everyone is interested in interfaith dialogue and that everyone is trying to preach it”.

This, he concluded, “will hopefully break down a lot of the borders and boundaries that were raised throughout years, making our humanity what brings us together” and not using religion to pull us apart.

Source: Vatican News