Pope Francis will visit the UAE in February to attend an International Interfaith Meeting on ‘Human Fraternity’, it was announced in Abu Dhabi and the Vatican City on Thursday.
More than one million Roman Catholics and other Christian expatriates living in the UAE are excited on the first visit of Pope Francis to the UAE in February.
Pope Francis, who has made boosting ties between Christianity and Islam a cornerstone of his papacy, will visit Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in February, the Vatican said Thursday.
Francis will take part in an international “interfaith” meeting during the trip, which will run from February 3 to 5. The 81-year old has already visited several Muslim countries, including Turkey in 2014, Azerbaijan in 2016 and Egypt in 2017.
The Vatican said the theme for the Abu Dhabi trip was summed up in the phrase “make me a channel of your peace” — a quote from Saint Francis of Assisi, the pope’s namesake. The hope was the visit would “spread in a special way the peace of God within the hearts of all people of good will,” it said.
The UAE prides itself on its religious tolerance and cultural diversity, and most Gulf Arab states have long allowed Christians to worship in churches. The UAE is home to over 40 churches — substantially more centres of worship than all the other GCC countries combined.
The historic visit — the first to a GCC member country — is at 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, and will take place from February 3 to 5.
The UAE trip will come ahead of a visit in March to Morocco.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Dubai Ruler, said in a Facebook post on Thursday: “We welcome the news of Pope Francis’ visit to the United Arab Emirates next February – a visit that will strengthen our ties and understanding of each other, enhance interfaith dialogue and help us to work together to maintain and build peace among the nations of the world.”
Source Credit: Arabian Business