(QHA) - The president of the Islamic Affairs Council of Maryland offered high praise for Pope Francis, saying the Catholic leader “resonates with the Muslim world,” much like the saint from whom he takes his name. "From my perspective, Pope Francis is really doing a wonderful job in terms of outreach, in terms of contributing to world peace, in terms of contributing to stopping wars and conflicts, praying for better understanding," said Imam Mohamad Bashar Arafat in an interview with Catholic News Service, reports Yahoo news. Arafat made the comments after visiting the Vatican as part of a trip arranged by the U.S. State Department. "St. Francis resonates with the Muslim world," The Imam said, noting that in 1219, Francis of Assisi was the first Catholic leader credited with holding a dialogue with a Muslim leader "I see Pope Francis saying the right things and setting the right tone, and also appearing in the right places at the right time," -he said. As reported, Pope Francis has repeatedly reached out to the world's Muslims in his public comments. As recently as an August address, Francis said Catholics must learn to live in "mutual respect" with their "Muslim brothers."