Pope Francis is slated to visit the UAE from the night (local time) of Sunday, February 3, to Tuesday, February 5, to participate in interfaith dialogue and celebrate Mass. The pope is expected to arrive in Abu Dhabi at 22:00 on Sunday. On Monday, he will meet Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and members of the International Muslim Council of Elders in the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and speak at an interfaith meeting. On Tuesday, Pope Francis is scheduled to celebrate Mass at the Zayed Sports City; more than 130,000 people are expected to be in attendance.
A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions are to be expected around the events. Public schools will be closed in Dubai and Sharjah on Monday for the papal visit, as well as all schools across all emirates on Tuesday. Some private schools may also be closed on Monday.
Pope Francis' trip to the UAE marks the first-ever papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula. The visit comes after the UAE declared 2019 as a "Year of Tolerance."
Individuals in the UAE are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant in large public gatherings, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities. Anticipate increased security measures and localized transportation disruptions near events related to the papal visit.
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