The Christians his advance team had informed would be coming to Europe were left behind. Instead, Francis brought these Moslems with him to Rome, Italy from Lesbos, Greece. The reason for not bringing Christians — red tape!
Nour Essa sees parallels between the life of Mohammed and the actions of Francis!
In Damascus, they lived alongside people of different faiths. “We are open-minded to other religions,” she says, and maybe something in her experience has blended her sense of them. “I asked the pope to pray for us, because he was the first Muslim” – she uses the Italian word Musulman before correcting herself and continuing. “He was better than the other Arabic leaders, because they didn’t make the same gesture, although we shared the same religion.” She describes the pope’s act of taking the families to Rome as “like a miracle”.Like a particular miracle, in fact: “When our prophet Muhammad is hiding in a cave with his friend Abu Bakr, and the non-believers are following them. The God makes a miracle.” A spider spins its web across the cave opening, “and the non-believers can’t see Muhammad”.Perhaps it is the sense of protection the pope gave that made Nour think of the spider. In any case, what has happened to her family, the pope’s saving of them, she says, “has strengthened my faith in God and in destiny. The God is always with you in every place. Maybe you don’t get the things you want faster … But you discover that the God is hiding something for you.”
Imam of Rome, Francis ‘the first Moslem’