Last week, it was announced Pope Francis would visit the UAE for the first time.
Both HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nayhan shared the news via Twitter. The UAE will welcome the head of the Catholic Church from February 3-5.
The landmark three-day visit signifies a strong friendship between Christians and Muslims, with both tweets from UAE leaders highlighting the important of peace between the two.
‘Work together to maintain and build peace’
We welcome the news of Pope Francis’ visit to the United Arab Emirates next February – a visit that will strengthen our ties and understanding of each other, enhance interfaith dialogue and help us to work together to maintain and build peace among the nations of the world.
— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) December 6, 2018
Almost ten million people live in the UAE, with 200 + nationalities, and Catholics making up nearly 10% of the population
Islam is the official religion of the UAE, but the country has operated an open religion policy.
Approximately 75-80% of the population is Muslim, while the rest is a mix of religions. Christians have a large presence, as do Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs.
‘We will seek dialogue on the peaceful coexistence among peoples’
The UAE is delighted to welcome His Holiness Pope Francis on the upcoming visit to the UAE. He 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. pic.twitter.com/xdsmU18HpO
— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) December 6, 2018
The UAE’s attitude approach to religious tolerance is an attitude the rest of the world could learn from
There are places of worship for all religions in Dubai, but it goes further than that. For Diwali, homes are lit up across Dubai. Right now you’ll hear Christmas tunes are blasting across malls and you’ll even find some groups singing Christmas carols in apartment blocks. And of course during Muslim religious celebrations such as Ramadan, the vibe of the city changes, with some non-Muslims even choosing to observe fasting as a mark of respect.
No where else in the world will you find religions groups living side by side, and not just tolerating other religions, but celebrating them too.
This attitude comes directly from the leaders of the UAE who continue to promote a tolerant society, and it’s an attitude the rest of the world could learn from.