In 1219, in the midst of the Fifth Crusade, Francis went to Damietta to preach the Gospel of peace to the Crusader Cardinal Pelagius and to the Sultan, Malik al-Kamil. When the Crusaders dismissed him, al-Kamil received him into his camp and spoke with Francis for over two weeks. The two men recognized in each other a desire for peace and a devotion to their mutual sacred texts, the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Q’uran. Al-kamil was a devout Suni Muslim, and Francis was, of course, a devout Christian. Francis had learned early on that God surprises us in unexpected places, like among the lepers, and now in the sultan’s camp at the very court of Malik al-Kamil. Francis’s daring to make peace with the Muslim forces was a radical departure from the ethos of the day, especially in the Church itself. Francis abhorred war, and he had come to see that those we call “the others,” even those we consider our enemies, are really our brothers and sisters.
—from Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis by Murray Bodo