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Arabic Vatican guidebook to explain Catholicism

It is called "The Vatican, its Significance and its Monuments," and explains Catholicism as well as sightseeing tips.

Edmond Farhat, the author, said he was compelled to write the guide after working to represent the Vatican across North Africa.

He said: "I returned to Rome and it had completely changed. When I go to St. Peter's, I always meet Arab people who are looking to understand something," the Washington Post reported.

There are already various guides to the Vatican in Italian, English, French, German and other languages, but not in Arabic.

Mr Farhat said he aimed to fill this gap but wanted to offer more than just facts: "It's not only a guide to the monuments, but an introduction to the historical and cultural reality of what the Catholic Church is. It's the first Arabic book of its kind in modern times.

"Culture doesn't have a colour, a race or a language; it's of interest to all of mankind."

The guide is being published as Pope Francis continues to push for dialogue with leaders and their communities in the Middle East.

In May the Pope welcomed the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the Vatican to celebrate the canonization of two 19th-century nuns, the first Catholic saints to come from Palestine.

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