Pope Francis to make Landmark Visit to UAE
UAE for the first time in what will be a landmark moment for interfaith relations and Catholics in the Gulf. The Vatican announced the visit to the country on February 3-5, 2019. The news follows an official invitation from the UAE that was delivered in person by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in June, and a visit to the Vatican in 2016 by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. It is estimated, there are about one million Christians in the UAE or roughly 10 per cent of the country’s population. Many are Catholics from the Philippines, India and African nations though there are many Christian churches and religious denominations in the emirates. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said the visit would “strengthen our ties and understanding of each other”.