Pope in historic visit to UAE to highlight religious freedom

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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Pope Francis is opening his historic visit to the United Arab Emirates by meeting with the federation’s leader and a group of Muslim elders.

After that, he will address an unprecedented gathering of faith leaders in a show of religious tolerance in a Muslim region known for its restrictions on religious freedom.

Francis’ speech to the gathering on Monday evening is the highlight of his brief, 40-hour visit to Abu Dhabi.

His trip culminates on Tuesday with the first-ever papal Mass on the Arabian Peninsula. It’s expected to draw some 135,000 people in a never-before-seen display of public Christian worship here.

Francis arrived in the Emirati capital late Sunday and was greeted by Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.


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