Pope begins historic trip to United Arab Emirates





Rome - Pope Francis is expected begin a historic trip to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday night, becoming the first head of the Catholic Church to set foot on the Arabian Peninsula.



 
Afer Francis arrives Sunday, the focus turns to an inter-religious meeting planned on Monday in Abu Dhabi during which the pope is set to speak. Hundreds of representatives from different religions are expected to attend the meeting.
The pope is also set to be officially welcomed by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Monday, before a meeting with a council of Muslim elders in the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
On Tuesday, roughly 130,000 worshippers are expected to gather in a sports stadium - many coming from neighbouring countries - for an open-air Mass with the pope.
Since becoming pope, Francis has called for more dialogue between Muslims and Catholics. The UAE is an Islamic country, with migrants, especially from Asia, making up the majority of the population.
The Vatican estimates that there are about 900,000 Catholics in the country. Unlike in other Arab countries, Christians are free to practice their religion in the UAE.

 


Sunday, February 3rd 2019
(dpa)
           


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