Pope Francis walks with Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of United Arab Emirates, upon his arrival at Abu Dhabi Presidential Flight airport in United Arab Emirates on Feb. 3. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) 

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (CNS) -- The sun had set long before Pope Francis arrived in Abu Dhabi Feb. 3, but Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince, and Egyptian Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, grand imam of al-Azhar, still went to the airport to welcome him.

Gerard O’Connell February 03, 2019
Today the only Christians in the Arabian Peninsula are migrants, and the pope’s visit is a cause of great joy for them.
Pope Francis will visit the Great Mosque of Sheik Zayed, one of the largest in the world and the most important place of worship in the country. (iStock/HeiFi)
Gerard O’Connell February 02, 2019
Pope Francis will visit Abu Dhabi to attend an international interfaith meeting on “Human Fraternity,” organized by Muslim leaders, and will celebrate Mass for migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates.
"By beatifying our 19 brothers and sisters, the church wishes to bear witness to her desire to continue to work for dialogue, harmony and friendship."
It is understandable to react with anger to dehumanizing speech, but a thoughtful approach can help to de-escalate tensions. (iStock/Juanmonino)
Saadia Ahmad December 06, 2018
Confronted with a political candidate’s Islamophobic language, the author chose not to walk away or to pounce in anger, but to reach across a divide.
Gerard O’Connell December 06, 2018
Francis is the first pope to visit the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, a majority-Muslim country of 10 million people.