Pope Francis makes a historic visit to the UAE

Pope Francis visits the Arabian Peninsula for the first time to attend inter-religious talks

Pope Francis shakes hands with Grand Imam Ahmed el-Tayeb of Al-Azhar at inter-religious meeting in the UAE. Photo: courtesy of http://w2.vatican.va

By Staff Reporter

Culture 4 February 2019

This is a big deal. History was made on Sunday 3 February when Pope Francis became the first Pope to visit the Arabian Peninsula.

Pope Francis, who has proven to be pretty progressive and popular compared to his predecessors, touched down in Abu Dhabi, UAE on Sunday after a 48-hour flight.

The 83-year-old pope tweeted the day he was flying:

“I am about to leave for the United Arab Emirates. I am visiting that Country as a brother, in order to write a page of dialogue together, and to travel paths of peace together. Pray for me!”

We can definitely get on board with the Pope’s message. On the invitation of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Pope Francis arrived to the to attend an inter-religious meeting and hold a Mass at Zayed Sports City. The Pope’s visit coincides with Inter-faith Harmony Week as observed by the United Nations. His visit also marks the Year of Tolerance in the UAE, which is home to a diver number of Arabs of different cultures and religion as well as people from across the world.

So far, Pope Francis has met with leading Muslim clerics and signed The Document on Human Fraternity for world peace along with Grand Imam Ahmed el-Tayeb of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders. This specific meeting marks the first time a Pope has met with the Muslim Council of Elders – again this is a big deal.

You can read The Document on Human Fraternity that Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar signed today through the Pope’s tweet below.

Pope Francis will also be holding an open-air mass for 135,000 Catholics on 5 February. The UAE is home to nearly a million Roman Catholics from different ethnic backgrounds including people from across the Arab world, India and the Philippines.

On his mission to strengthen relations with The Vatican and the rest of the world, Pope Francis has already visited Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt and next month, he’s off to Morocco. One of his main goals on all these trips is to promote understanding, empathy and peace between countries and religions especially between the West and the East. Check out more from Pope Francis visit so far through the tweets from the official twitter account for the news of HH Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

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