28 February, 2021

Abu Dhabi Diary

This week, a diary from Abu Dhabi on the visit of the Pope and the Imam and the 'new symbolic tolerance'.

Abu Dhabi Diary
Ave Maria in Arabia

The ecstatic applause with which the 1,50,000-strong, demographically diverse congregation greeted Pope Francis’s expression of gratitude to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi was a special moment during the first papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula. A huge Catholic crowd hailing a Muslim ruler for making possible the largest ever gathering of Christians in the peninsula was momentous. They were grateful for the bold and arguably ‘iconoclastic’ decision by Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to invite the Pope. It is worth noting that the UAE has no Christian citizenry, but hosts millions of expatriates belonging to that faith. A middle-aged woman from Goa wished to personally thank the Crown Prince and said Catholics the world over would remember with gratitude his gesture. “When Christian minorities struggle for survival in several countries in the region in the face of brutal persecution, His Highness went...

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