Recognise rights of all faiths, urges Pope Francis

Hugh Fox
February 7, 2019

The Pope has said that his trip, which ends on Tuesday, is an opportunity to write "a new page in the history of relations between religions".

Francis used his regular Sunday address in Vatican City to urge all sides to implement the deal and help deliver aid.

Francis' speech to the gathering of faith leaders later in the evening is the highlight of his brief, 40-hour visit to Abu Dhabi, the first to the Arabian Peninsula by a pope.

The Pope will meet Muslim leaders and celebrate an outdoor mass for about 120,000 Catholics.

"The United States applauds @Pontifex arrival in UAE as a historic moment for religious freedom". He also called on Muslims in the West to integrate in their host nations and respect local laws. "It is therefore crucial to establish in our societies the concept of full citizenship and reject the discriminatory use of the term minorities, which engenders feelings of isolation and inferiority", reads the "Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together". There, Francis will see firsthand a Catholic community that is big, diverse and dynamic, at a time when the wider Mideast has seen an exodus of Christians fleeing persecution at the hands of the Daesh terror group and others.

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Abu Dhabi: Pope Francis on Monday called for "the full recognition" of rights for people of all faiths from the UAE, the first visit by the head of the Catholic church to the Arabian Peninsula.

Yesterday also saw Pope Francis partake in an interfaith meeting at the Founder's Memorial, the primary reason for his visit.

Catholics believe the pope is the vicar of Christ on earth, so that participating in a papal Mass is particularly special.

Priests and diplomats describe the UAE as one of the most open environments in the Gulf for Christian worship.

Last December, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler of the UAE, announced that 2019 will officially be the Year of Tolerance.

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Pope Francis will visit the UAE this year for a landmark, three-day visit.

The pope waved at an enthusiastic crowd carrying Vatican flags and banners as he drove into Zayed Sports City Stadium, where an altar with a large cross was set up for the open-air service in a country that borders the birthplace of Islam.

The UAE, which prides itself on its religious diversity in the Gulf, is also a member of the US-led coalition battling the Islamic State group in both Syria and Iraq.

All in all, it is estimated there are about 1 million Catholics in the UAE today, majority from the Philippines and from India, but also from African countries, the Middle East, and Europe.

His Holiness Pope Francis and His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Dr. Ahmed At-Tayyeb have signed the historic Abu Dhabi Declaration " a document on Human Fraternity in the United Arab Emirates.

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