Illustrative purposes Image Credit: Gulf News archives

What you need to know:

  • Pope Francis' visit to the UAE is iconic. 
  • A reader discusses what the visit means to him and for the UAE.

I would like to give a warm welcome to Pope Francis who is visiting the UAE this week. As a Muslim resident of this beautiful country, I am extremely grateful that he accepted the invitation of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. It is his first visit to any Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country, which makes it an even greater honour for all residents of the UAE.

He is a personality who is a universally respected as a symbol of peace, tolerance and the promotion of brotherhood for people of all faiths around the world. What he symbolises is exactly what the world needs more of right now.

As a resident of the UAE, I feel very lucky to live in an environment where people of all races and religious backgrounds can interact, live and work with each other, and create bonds of long lasting friendship.

Little symbols of interfaith tolerance can be observed by ordinary people like me who live here. In the malls of this country, once the Muslim festivals of Ramadan and Eid are over, equally festive decorations for Christmas and New Year go up everywhere, just as they do for the Hindu festival of Diwali.

Tolerance, mutual respect, co-existence and peaceful cooperation are key values of the society that we live in and feel a part of.

May the Pope’s visit lead to greater understanding between Muslims and Christians and people of all faiths. Let it contribute to mutual understanding and peace in the region and our world at large.

- The reader is a marketing professional based in Dubai.