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OffbeatPope to visit United Arab Emirates in February

15:41  06 december  2018
15:41  06 december  2018 Source:   reuters.com

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The United Arab Emirates , sometimes simply called the Emirates , is a country in Western Asia at the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf

Pope Francis, supreme head of the Catholic Church, has accepted an invitation to visit the UAE . The date of the visit will be decided later after mutual coordination, but all arrangements The Vatican has sent a letter indicating the Pope 's willingness to visit the UAE , sources confirmed to Khaleej Times.

Pope to visit United Arab Emirates in February© The Associated Press Pope Francis, flanked by Vatican Prefect of the Pontifical Household, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, delivers his message during a weekly general audience, in the Pope Paul VI hall, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

VATICAN CITY, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Pope Francis will visit Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in February, the Vatican said on Thursday, in his seventh trip to a predominantly Muslim nation to call for inter-religious peace.

The trip will take place from Feb. 3-5. The Vatican said the pope had accepted an invitation from Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and the tiny Catholic community there. He will attend an inter-faith meeting.

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Francis has already visited Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Bangladesh and Azerbaijan, the Palestinian territories and used those trips to call for inter-religious dialogue and to condemn the notion of violence in the name of God.

"The theme of the visit is 'Make Me a Channel of Your Peace' – and that's the Pope’s intention in going to the United Arab Emirates. How all people of goodwill can work for peace will be a major topic on this trip," Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said.

The theme is taken from the opening words of the Prayer of Peace of Francis of Assisi, the saint whose name the pope took when he was elected in 2013.

"This visit, like the one to Egypt, (2017) shows the fundamental importance the Holy Father gives to inter-religious dialogue. Pope Francis visiting the Arab world is a perfect example of the culture of encounter," Burke said.

Crown Prince Mohammed said in a tweet that the pope "is a symbol of peace, tolerance and the promotion of brotherhood. We look forward to a historic visit, through which we will seek dialogue on the peaceful coexistence among peoples." (Additional reporting by Alexander Cornwell and Nafisa Eltahir in Dubai; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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