Pope Francis landed in the UAE on Sunday for the first ever visit by a pontiff to the Arabian Peninsula – the birthplace of Islam.
The pope touched down in Abu Dhabi for the 48-hour trip during which he will meet leading Muslim clerics and hold an open-air mass for some 135,000 Catholics.
He was greeted by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and was warmly embraced by Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the imam of Cairo’s Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam’s prestigious seat of learning.
The pontiff will take part in an interreligious conference on Monday with Sheikh Ahmed.
Hours before he flies back to Rome on Tuesday, he will lead mass in a stadium in Abu Dhabi – set to be the largest gathering ever in the UAE.