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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 April 2019

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi wishes Christians across the world peace and happiness in Christmas message

The UAE 'founded in the spirit of tolerance, love and co-existence' says Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed meets Pope Francis in Rome in September 2016. The two will meet again in Abu Dhabi in 2019. Ryan Carter / Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi 
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed meets Pope Francis in Rome in September 2016. The two will meet again in Abu Dhabi in 2019. Ryan Carter / Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi 

In a Christmas message, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces offered congratulations from the UAE to Christians across the world in the "spirit of tolerance, love and co-existence".

UAE President Sheikh Khalifa has announced that 2019 will be the Year of Tolerance, and Pope Francis will visit the Emirates in February for the first time, in what will be a milestone moment for interfaith relations and Catholics in the Gulf.

It is thought there are about one million Christians in the UAE, roughly 10 per cent of the country's population. Many are Catholics from the Philippines, India and different African nations, though there are many Christian churches and religious denominations in the Emirates.

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Read more:

'Everybody is excited': Roman Catholics in the UAE can't wait to see the Pope and attend public Mass

The Pope's visit: The story of the Roman Catholic Church in the UAE

Pope Francis to make landmark visit to UAE

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Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Tolerance, said the UAE’s focus next year will be to promote peaceful co-existence and an open, respectful dialogue among the country’s diverse population.

The Grand Imam of Al Azhar has been invited to participate in the UAE's Global Conference for Human Fraternity in February, to coincide with Pope Francis's visit.

The invitation to the pontiff was extended jointly by Sheikh Mohamed and the Catholic Church in the UAE, and follows a visit by the crown prince to the Vatican in 2016.

Updated: December 25, 2018 02:25 PM

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