And it wasn’t just the big, high-profile moments that displayed tolerance. Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, had a special role in the proceedings after being chosen to play the organ at the Mass, even though he is Anglican. Mr. Griffiths, in charge of the world’s busiest airport for international passengers, is used to special occasions, having played at Westminster Abbey in London. However, he was still astounded by the size and scale of the Mass.
“It had such an incredible air of quality and majesty about it,” he said. “I cannot begin to say what an emotionally charged event it was.”
Nothing about the event was simple or easy. The symphonic organ had to be airlifted in from the UK. But every detail seemed worthwhile to Mr. Griffiths, who described the Mass as a “PR masterstroke for the UAE.”
“This has done the UAE the power of good in terms of its image and standing in the world,” he said. “It was such a significant demonstration of how in the UAE you are welcome to practice your religion in a tolerant way.”
Pope Francis’ visit also received a significant amount of coverage online and across social media. Data gathered by Brunswick Digital revealed that the Papal visit received some 23,000 mentions on Twitter alone. On February 4th and 5th, dates when a private meeting took place between the Pope and members of the Muslim council of elders, and when the Pope celebrated the Holy Mass, the volume of online mentions peaked, including more than 900 mentions across online news outlets.