Pope Francis yesterday rejected "hatred and violence" in the name of God, on the first visit by the head of the Catholic church to the Muslim-majority Arabian Peninsula.
The pontiff, who met with the world's top Sunni Muslim cleric in Abu Dhabi, said "every form of violence must be condemned without hesitation... No violence can be justified in the name of religion".
He called for "the full recognition" of rights for people of all faiths from the UAE.
Religious freedom "is not limited only to freedom of worship but sees in the other truly a brother or sister, a child of my own humanity whom God leaves free and whom, therefore, no human institution can coerce, not even in God's name", Pope Francis said during an interfaith meeting attended by Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb.
He called for equal citizenship rights and religious freedom in the Middle East.
"I look forward to societies where people of different beliefs have the same right of citizenship and where only in the case of violence in any of its forms is that right removed," he said.
The Pope arrived in Abu Dhabi on Sunday night for a three-day visit. He also raised the issue of Yemen, devastated by a war in which the UAE is a key player.
"Human fraternity requires of us, as representatives of the world's religions, the duty to reject every nuance of approval from the word war. I am thinking in particular of Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya," the Pope said.