Pope to visit Bahrain for conference in November, Vatican says


FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis meets with Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa during a private audience at the Vatican, February 3, 2020. Vincenzo Pinto/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis will visit predominantly Muslim Bahrain Nov. 3-6 to attend an international conference, the Vatican announced on Wednesday.

The Vatican said the pope would visit the Gulf island country off the Arabian peninsula to take part in the Bahrain Forum for Dialogue: East and West for Human Coexistence.

In 2019, Francis visited Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, the first pontiff to visit the Arabian peninsula and say a Mass there.

Bahrain is about 70% Muslim and, unlike Saudi Arabia, allows the small Christian community - made up mostly of foreign workers - to practice their faith publicly in the two churches there.

Vatican officials first announced the trip to Bahrain on the flight back from the pope's trip to Kazakhstan earlier this month but did not give the dates.

Wednesday's announcement gave no details of the programme.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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