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No Reciprocity: On the Papal Visit to the UAE

Pope Francis is planning a pilgrimage to Arabia, a land of no reciprocity. Unlike in the West, no religious equality is to be had there, and, for the most part, in practice, no religious freedom either. It is doubtful that the Pontiff will be able to remedy the situation.

Aside from Iraq and Yemen, which are largely outside the scope of our inquiry, the region consists primarily of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait. These five are all Muslim monarchies and their system is based upon Islamic law, the sharia. Specifically, the Roman pontiff will be visiting Abu Dhabi in the UAE in early February. The region is majority Sunni Muslim, where hard-core Hanbali and orthodox Maliki schools of jurisprudence vie for supremacy.

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