Pope – Rights in the Spotlight reports that Pope Francis flew to the Gulf states of Bahrain on Thursday to foster ties with Islam, a trip that was overshadowed by criticism of human rights abuses.
Following Francis’ visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2019, the second trip of the pope to the Arabian Peninsula also aims to promote interreligious dialogue between Christians and Muslims. In the sprawling, contemporary cathedral, the Pope will lead prayers for peace. opened a year ago.
However, before Francis’ trip to Bahrain, which will last until Sunday, there has already been a flood of criticism of the country’s human rights record. Francis, 85, who is probably confined to a wheelchair due to persistent knee pain, arrived at 4:45 p.m. “It will be carried out. Al Khalifa following the opening ceremony.
He then delivers speeches to diplomats, authorities, and members of civil society by his official schedule.
Francis spoke at the Bahrain Forum for Dialogue on Friday: East and West for the Conjunction of Mankind coordinated by the UAE-based Committee of Muslim Elderly folks, trailed by the eminent Excellent Imam Sheik of Cairo. He met with Ahmad Al-Tayeb privately. It has its headquarters in Al-Azhar, Egypt’s most significant Sunni organization.
During Francis’ visit to the United Arab Emirates in 2019, the two religious leaders signed a joint document promising interfaith coexistence.
Throughout his reign, the Argentine pope made it a priority to reach out to the Muslim community by traveling to major Muslim nations like Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, and Kazakhstan in September.
Francis asked the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Tuesday to pray for his upcoming trip, which he referred to as “a trip under the banner of dialogue.”
Matteo Bruni, a spokesperson for the Vatican, told reporters before the trip that he was unsure whether Francis would bring up the topic of human rights.
Bruni, on the other hand, stated that “his position of his on religious liberty and liberty is clear and well known.”
Francis’s trip to Bahrain comes as Qatar, a neighbor, has been under fire recently for its human rights record, particularly for how it treats low-income migrant workers, women, and members of the LGBTQ community in advance of the World Cup later this year during this month.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) and eight other rights organizations, on the other hand, urged Bahrain to “stop all executions, abolish the death penalty, and take allegations of torture and fair trial violations seriously” on Tuesday. publicly insist that he “investigate.”
In addition, they are pleading for improved protection for migrant workers and the release of journalists, dissidents, and others who have been imprisoned since the 2011 pro-democracy protests.
The group’s allegations were refuted Tuesday by a government spokesperson, who stated that Bahrain “does not tolerate discrimination” and that no one has been prosecuted for their political or religious beliefs.
The Awari Cathedral of Our Lady of Arabia, which opened in December and has more than 2,000 seats, is the location of Friday’s “Prayer for Peace. “It was constructed to cater to Bahrain’s estimated 80,000 Catholics, primarily Filipino and Indian workers.
At the Bahrain National Stadium on Saturday, Francis will lead a mass in front of approximately 30,000 people. On Wednesday, workers were finishing things up there, including putting a massive gold cross on Francisco’s chair.
According to the apostolic administrator of the North Arabian diocese, Bishop Paul Hinder, approximately 2,000 seats will be reserved for Saudi Arabian Catholics.
Saudi Arabia, the Sunni powerhouse and the birthplace of Islam is an absolute monarchy that rights groups have repeatedly accused of abusing. Riyadh prohibits all non-Muslim places of worship and does not permit religious freedom.
Before heading back to Rome, Francis intends to preside over a Sunday prayer meeting with Catholic clergy and others.