Today, Pope Francis began his historic visit to the United Arab Emirates with an incredible, pompous reception of greetings before he can address the leaders of the faith in demonstrating religious tolerance in a Muslim region famous for its attitude to religious freedom.

The visit of the Pope is the first official visit of the pontiff to the Arabian Peninsula, where he will meet with Muslim and political leaders and hold a street mass in the capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The head of the Catholic Church arrived at the presidential palace and was met with artillery salute and a military overpass by the country even though the Emirates are in a state of war.

Even for a nation known for its antics, greeting the locals on the red carpet was remarkable for a pontiff who prides himself on his simplicity.

A speech before a meeting of religious leaders in the late evening is the highlight of his brief 40-hour visit to Abu Dhabi. The culmination of his visit will be the first in the history of the papal liturgy on the Arabian Peninsula – a gathering that is supposed to gather about 135,000 believers in an unexampled demonstration of public Christian worship here.