Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 August 2019

Sheikh Nahyan welcomes Pope Francis’s upcoming visit to UAE

Minister of Tolerance said he would be proud to receive the leader of the Catholic Church in February

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the UAE's Minister of Tolerance, at St Andrew's Church in Abu Dhabi with the Reverend Canon Andrew Thompson
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the UAE's Minister of Tolerance, at St Andrew's Church in Abu Dhabi with the Reverend Canon Andrew Thompson

The UAE’s Minister of Tolerance has welcomed Pope Francis’s upcoming visit to the Emirates, describing the Pontiff as “an advocate for global peace”.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak said he was proud to receive the leader of the Catholic Church, who is due to arrive in the country in February.

Hundreds of thousands of worshippers are expected to join Pope Francis as he becomes the first pontiff in history to visit the Arabian Peninsula.

Sheikh Nahyan said he hoped the landmark event would inspire the UAE to “redouble our efforts to nurture tolerance”, bridging differences with “universal values”.

“We are proud to welcome him as a friend, as an advocate for global peace and dialogue and as a representative of a great world religion,” said Sheikh Nahyan in a statement issued on Wam on Tuesday.

“The visit of Pope Francis to the United Arab Emirates will reinforce the peace with which we have been blessed.”

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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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Pope Francis is due to arrive in Abu Dhabi from Rome late in the evening on February 3.

He will be met at the Presidential Airport by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

On the morning of February 5, a large public Mass will be held at Zayed Sports City in the capital with some 100,000 people expected to attend. The Pope will fly back to Rome following the event.

“We Emiratis have welcomed the world to the United Arab Emirates,” said Sheikh Nahyan.

“Our remarkably diverse population lives and works in peaceful and productive harmony, sheltered safely by a welcoming Arab tent.

“The willingness of us all Emiratis and foreigners to engage with people different from ourselves in a spirit of respect and empathy has ensured our success.

“We talk to one another. We learn from one another. We have come to understand and accept our differences. We have discovered the values that we share.”

Updated: December 18, 2018 06:19 PM

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