Pope Francis' visit to the UAE has once again brought into focus his simple lifestyle. This time, it is for the Pope's choice of being driven around the lavish palaces and cities of the Arabian peninsula in a small Kia Soul car.
On Monday, February 4, when Pope Francis arrived at the UAE's magnificient palace, his car of choice looked pretty small in front of a fleet of luxurious cars used by the Shiekhs and ministers of the country. The pontiff's choice shone through as he effectively drove across a message with his humility.
The Kia Soul, which is expected to be introduced in India in 2021, will be moderately priced in the range of Rs 7-12 lakh . This car was Pope Francis' vehicle of choice on several occasions -- be it his South Korea trip of 2014 and Uganda tour in 2015, the Nation reported.
As soon as Pope arrived at the presidential palace, he was escorted by a cavalry horses and presented with an artillery salute with the trails of vatican's flag in the air.
Look: Today the pope arrived in a Kia Soul for the official welcome. The Pope continues to practice what he preaches... remember those in need, live a simple life and do good to others pic.twitter.com/eIeDHNv7Ml
— Gulf News (@gulf_news) February 4, 2019
Pope Francis' UAE visit will revive the strained Muslim-catholic leadership ties?
The Catholic pope's first visit to the Gulf seems to be an attempt to harmonise the strained relations between the catholic leadership and the Muslim world.
The pontiff met the Dubai Ruler and Vice-President, and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed along with various other state diginatries inside the palace.
In his first public interaction with the Muslim, Christian and catholic religous leaders in UAE on Monday, Pope took a dig at Donald Trump by warning against the "building of walls" in reference to the Mexico wall which the US President has pledged to raise.
He also mentioned the ongoing conflicts in Libya, Syria and Yemen and called upon the world leaders to put an end to peoples' miseries by ending the war. Notably, the UAE is a signatory to the war declared by its neighbour Saudi Arabia in Yemen.
Pope Francis' current visit is expected to bring a change in UAE's stance on the Yemen situation.
The Pope will address an inter-faith gathering of over 1 million people at the Zayed Sports City on Tuesday. This is being organised by the UAE Council of Elders where the pontiff will be projected as the "star of religous tolerance".
Through this inter-faith dialogue, UAE aims to strengthen its image of being the tolerant Muslim country which discourages radical Islamic ideology unlike its neighbour Saudi Arabia.