A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pope Receives Female UAE Ambassador

Though I'm Catholic (though I wouldn't want to be interrogated by the Spanish Inquisition on my orthodoxy), I find it very ironic that the new UAE Ambassador to the Vatican (a title which is in itself an interesting concept) is a woman. So far as I know, the Vatican doesn't have any female papal nuncios.

This isn't the first female Ambassador to the Vatican or anything, but it's interesting that this is an Arab Ambassador. The Pope is said to have praised the UAE for its tolerance of Christians. (Well, it is pretty dependent on expatriate labor.) Perhaps the Vatican is immune to the irony, but I'm not.

1 comment:

David Mack said...

In fact, UAE is tolerant of Christians to a significant degree. At least when I was in the UAE in the late 1980s, Churches were available for Christian services in all emirates, except for Ras Al-Khaymah. The Ruler of Abu Dhabi had even provided land for three congregations -- Anglican, non-denominational Protestant, and Roman Catholic. Moreover, the Roman Catholic Bishop for the Arabian Peninsula had his seat in Abu Dhabi and was treated as part of the diplomatic community. He told me the secret: UAE authorities are tolerant as long as you don't proselytize. In the UAE this extended to things like ringing church bells or displaying crosses on a church building. Sort of a "Swiss solution," I guess.