Pope's visit comes as UAE faces scrutiny over image of tolerance

Pope Francis meeting the faithful at the Vatican yesterday. His impending visit to the UAE is aimed at building bridges amid growing nationalism and insularism around the world, said its minster for tolerance.
Pope Francis meeting the faithful at the Vatican yesterday. His impending visit to the UAE is aimed at building bridges amid growing nationalism and insularism around the world, said its minster for tolerance.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

When Pope Francis arrives in Abu Dhabi on Sunday night, he will become the first head of the Roman Catholic Church to set foot in the Arabian Peninsula.

The pontiff's host - the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - hopes the optics from the historic visit will solidify its position as a major power on the global stage, at a time when UAE domestic and foreign policy faces increased scrutiny.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2019, with the headline 'Pope's visit comes as UAE faces scrutiny over image of tolerance'. Print Edition | Subscribe