Pope Francis greets Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb (R), Egyptian Imam of al-Azhar Mosque at the Vatican, May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano Handout via Reuters
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Pope Francis met the grand imam of Cairo's Al-Azhar Mosque at the Vatican Monday in a historic encounter that was sealed with a hugely symbolic hug and exchange of kisses.The first Vatican meeting between the leader of the world's Catholics and the highest authority in Sunni Islam marks the culmination of a significant improvement in relations between the two faiths since Francis took office in 2013 . In all, the imam spent just over an hour at St. Peter's.Pope John-Paul II met the then-grand imam of Al-Azhar in Cairo in 2000, a year before the Sept. 11 attacks on New York transformed relations between the West and the Islamic world.
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