The Vatican does not save with superlatives: historical journey, milestone, a new chapter in the history of relations between the religions. The first journey of a pope to the Arabian Peninsula, the cradle of Islam is considered one of the most significant in Bergoglio pontificate so far, Pope Francis hopes that his visit to Abu Dhabi will send a message of understanding between Christians and Muslims.
One of the highlights is the participation of Francis in an interfaith meeting in Abu Dhabi. The event is co-organized by the Islamic Council of Elders, an association committed to tolerant Islam and based in the Emirates.
The host country is open to the Pope. For a Tuesday scheduled Mass, the ruling family Bin Zayed al Nayan Francis, the largest sports stadium in the country.
The Emirates are considered comparatively liberal. 2019 has been declared the Year of Tolerance. The pope praised the Emirates as a “model of coexistence and human brotherhood” prior to his trip. A special gesture unusual for an Islamic country: On the occasion of the visit of the Pope, all people who want to attend the Mass get a job free.
Some 900,000 Christians live in the Emirates just under 10 percent of the total population, almost all of them are migrant workers from Asia, among others.
Among other things, it is interesting to see whether the pope will comment on his journey to the conflict in Yemen one of the largest humanitarian catastrophes in the world according to the United Nations.
Among other things, Francis had called in his Urbi et Orbi for Christmas to peace in Yemen. In addition to Saudi Arabia, the Emirates are among the main participants in the Yemen conflict.