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Pope to visit United Arab Emirates in February

AFP  |  Vatican City 

Pope Francis, who has made boosting ties between Christianity and Islam a cornerstone of his papacy, will visit in the in February, the Vatican said Thursday.

The pontiff was invited to the majority-Muslim country by both Sheikh and the local

Francis will take part in an international "interfaith" meeting during the trip, which will run from February 3 to 5.

The 81-year old has already visited several Muslim countries, including in 2014, in 2016 and in 2017.

The Vatican said the theme for the trip was summed up in the phrase "make me a channel of your peace" -- a quote from of Assisi, the pope's namesake.

The hope was the visit would "spread in a special way the peace of God within the hearts of all people of good will," it said.

"This visit, like the one to Egypt, shows the fundamental importance the Holy Father gives to inter-religious dialogue," said.

"visiting the Arab world is a perfect example of the culture of encounter," he added.

The UAE prides itself on its religious tolerance and cultural diversity, and most states have long allowed Christians to worship in churches.

Nearly 80 per cent of the population of the UAE is Muslim, while Christians constitute around nine percent, according to the Agency.

Many of the Catholics are workers from Africa, Bangladesh, India, and the Philippines, though some are locals.

The UAE trip will come of a visit in March to

moved quickly after his election in 2013 to make overtures to Jews and Muslims, inviting two old friends from -- a rabbi and a Muslim -- on a trip to the where he condemned religious hatred.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, December 06 2018. 18:10 IST