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Francis and the Sultan
Jack Wintz, O.F.M.
Source: Friar Jack's E-spirations
Published: Sunday, September 29, 2013

In the year 1219, while Christian Crusaders were engaged in bloody combat with Muslim armies, St. Francis traveled to Damietta, Egypt, where he had a meeting with Sultan Malik al-Kamil, leader of the Muslim armies.

Convinced that violence and war was the wrong path, Francis determined to engage in peaceful dialogue with the sultan and the whole Muslim world. When he gained entrance to the sultan's camp, he fearlessly tried to persuade his Muslim host that Christ was the true path to salvation.

Although the sultan was not about to change religions, he admired Francis’s enthusiasm and courage and listened respectfully to him. Francis also showed a deep respect for his Muslim brother. The sultan offered gifts to Francis and saw to it that he was given safe passage back to the Christian camp. As they parted, according to one account, the sultan said to Francis, “Pray for me that God may reveal to me the law and the faith that is more pleasing to him.”

—Adapted from “Friar Jack’s E-spirations.”

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