The visit of pope Francis to the United Arab Emirates was a win-win for both parties. The pope re-fuelling confidence for the particularly tricky summit on child abuse later this month, and the UAE can be just as their poor reputation on human rights to the background out of the way.
With a eucharistic celebration for an estimated 180,000 were believers in and around the stadium in Abu Dhabi – it was the largest mass rally ever in the country – is this morning the three-day …
With a eucharistic celebration for an estimated 180,000 were believers in and around the stadium in Abu Dhabi – it was the largest mass rally ever in the country – is this morning the three-day ‘historic’ visit of pope Francis to the United Arab Emirates ended.
It was the first time a pope paid a visit to the Arabian peninsula, the birthplace of islam. But in order really to write a history, had the leader of the catholic church, of course, Saudi Arabia – the land of Mecca and Medina should visit. And that remains a bridge too far.
The trip was especially beautiful, but also easy – pr-operation for both parties. The initiative went out from the crown prince of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, and the local roman catholic church. And they fit in with an initiative of the United Nations. Who organized this week the World Interfaith Harmony Week, meant to increase the tolerance between different religions, to promote.
Both the pope and the United Arab Emirates are proliferating like on this theme. The Emirates consider themselves as one of the most tolerant countries in the Middle East as well as to other religions than islam. Since 1965, there may be churches are built and the more than 1 million catholics – all of them immigrants from especially India and the Philippines – their faith in relative freedom to exercise.
For the Vatican is religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue for many years one of the spearheads of the policy. Pope Francis chose for his foreign travel arranged muslim countries. Previously, he was already in Turkey, Egypt, Bangladesh, and at the end of march, he travels to Morocco.
‘No interest in track record to improve’
Yet there remain serious reservations on the sincerity of the intentions, especially on the side of the Emirates. The country remains a questionable reputation carry with them when it comes to human rights. Organisations such as Human Rights Watch continue to year after year, write reports in which they the royal family, with the finger pointing.
“The government has no real interest in his track record to improve,” says Sarah Leah Whitson, the HRW director for the Middle East. “The country is very sensitive to its image on the international stage. Therefore, the pope the royals clearly indicate their responsibilities at home and abroad.’
The Emirates are close allies of Saudi Arabia and play an important role in the dirty war that started off in Yemen. In a new report, Amnesty International has them on their crushing responsibility. ‘Yemen is at a rapid pace, a haven for militias that are supported by the Emirates and there with impunity go on their way,’ said Patrick Wilcken, wapenbeheersingsexpert of Amnesty International.
In the run-up to his visit, raised Francis to the situation in Yemen carefully. The pope said that all religions, more efforts would have wars and inequality from the world, to help. He referred to the Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya. But or the royal family there are really awake of, is doubtful.
Furthermore, the working conditions of most migrant workers in the country is unenviable. And with the freedom of the press is also not too well made. Significant was the fact that the victory of Qatar in the final of the Asian Cup, played in the Emirates, not raised in the local media. The Emirates are the driving force behind the isolation of Qatar.
The bath was of course detailed report done. The pan-Arab newspaper, Asharq al-Awsat, which is owned by Saudi’s, published even an op-ed in which the visit of Francis and his message of tolerance highly praised. “The Arab region has long allowed extremist voices and religious discourse have occupied. It is time that this is rectified.’
Francis can be a good feeling to return to Rome. There awaits him a much tougher challenge. On 21 February, all the presidents of the bishops ‘ conferences together in order to bend to the misbruikschandalen that the church continue to ravage. Is intended that the top leaders for three days of action will discuss that the church should better protect against new misbruikschandalen.
The storm this last year again hit the markets, it is again not going to lie. But in the run-up to this summit will be the discussion, in all its outbreak. For Francis is a lot at stake. Many believers remains the perception that the pope is still not robust enough occurs. Certainly in the United States remains the wound to fester. Last week it became known that the chairman of the U.s. bishops, cardinal Daniel DiNardo, a priest undisturbed, the mass allowed to instruct on the day that his name appeared on a list of priests credibly accused of abuse.