Pope Francis and the King of Bahrain have called for the promotion of dialogue and peaceful co-existence among all members of society during a meeting today at the Vatican.
The Holy Father and His Majesty Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa discussed themes of common interest, especially the commitment towards peace and stability in the Middle East.
During the cordial discussions, mention was made of the positive contribution of Bahrain’s Christian community to the nation.
The Pope also expressed appreciation for the monarch’s personal interest in the needs of the local Catholic community.
The king subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
A considerable number of expat Christians live in Bahrain (65,000 out of 1.3 million) and are relatively free to practise their faith in private. But according to Open Doors, a UK Christian charity, the country is not tolerant towards converts from Islam to other religious groups, with families and communities sometimes subjecting converts to physical abuse.