Pope’s upcoming visit to the UAE will bear fruits of love and tolerance

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Pope’s upcoming visit to the UAE will bear fruits of love and tolerance

By Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader

This is the first time that a Pontiff pays a visit to an Arabian Gulf state, namely to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where the visit starts on February 3 and lasts until January 5.

The visit witness two major events. The first one follows the official reception and the address welcoming His Holiness Pope Francis. Yet, there is an invitation to attend a universal gathering known as “Human Fraternity Meeting”. This term is very impressive where this event will be attended by His Holiness the Pope and Sheikh of Grand Al-Azhar Amad Tayyib as well as religious and civil personalities as the attention will be focused on creating an atmosphere of genuine human fraternity staring from the UAE that enhances all the efforts designed unify the extended human family anew. We underline the need to rejuvenate efforts designed to attain this goal because the past years, or rather the decades, created a rift triggered by extremism, bigotry and inter-Arab differences. There are great hopes that with the start of the new year 2019 such efforts will continue with a great impetus so that the years to come will witness positive atmospheres which open new atmospheres of peace and tranquility for the generations to come.

It is a source of pride to have the UAE declare the year 2019 as the Year of Tolerance and for launching the Ministry of Tolerance. Furthermore, the UAE also issued a law that criminalizes all forms of discrimination, protects religion and religious institutions, and bans vandalism of religious symbols, insults to God. These two points are distinguished as they serve as messages addressed to the entire world.

The second most important event is the Holy Mass that will be attended by more than 120,000 people who will arrive in the UAE to welcome the Pope. We know that the UAE includes various ethnic and religious groups, where religion serves harmony and keeps dissent at bay. What is important is that the UAE respects religious rites which imply instilling tolerance and peace among the expatriates so as to enhance the opportunities to develop the society and bolster economy in the service of a flourishing media that serves the entire world.

We hope that the upcoming visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to this fraternal country as well as his upcoming visit in March to Morocco will reinforce relations between the Holy See on the one hand and the Arab countries as well as the Middle Eastern countries on the other and contribute to spreading atmospheres of peace, justice equality and attainment of human rights so that all parties in this region will serve humans and humanity.

We also hope that the upcoming papal visits to the UAE and Morocco will create atmospheres of solidarity and cooperation between Muslims and Christians which will impact the world at large.

We hope that the Pope’s upcoming visit to the UAE will bear fruits of love, which he has been calling for, in the service of the poor as well as the needy, the forcibly displaced, the refugees and the people with good intentions.

We convey our heartfelt greeting to His Holiness the Pope and to the UAE with whom we share the joy of welcoming the Pope.

abouna.org@gmail.com

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