UAE’s tolerant ethos sets a shining example - GulfToday

UAE’s tolerant ethos sets a shining example

Human Fraternity Document

Pope Francis and Ahmed El-Tayeb attend the signing of the Human Fraternity Document in Abu Dhabi. File/ WAM

While growing intolerance poses a mammoth challenge to many nations, it is a matter of great pride and honour for citizens and residents of the UAE that the country sets flawless examples on what a truly tolerant society is all about.

Values of tolerance continue to dominate public events and activities in the UAE as part of relentless efforts to promote cross cultural and religious interactions, as well as dialogue and peaceful coexistence, especially during the ‘Year of Tolerance’.

Last month witnessed the formation of a higher committee in Abu Dhabi to implement the ‘’Human Fraternity Document’, signed by Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Dr Ahmed El-Tayyeb, in the UAE capital last February.

The signing of the Human Fraternity Document unambiguously demonstrated the UAE’s commitment to promoting interfaith dialogue and shared values that include tolerance and peaceful coexistence among people of all religions and faiths.

Being the first country in the world to have launched a tolerance charter, the UAE always sees to it that words are matched by deeds.

A concrete example of this is the holding of the second meeting by the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity at the New York Public Library in which they shared with stakeholders their mission to progress a culture of mutual respect and dialogue across all backgrounds, beliefs and nationalities.

Following the Higher Committee’s inaugural meeting at the Vatican earlier this month, the New York gathering was the second time the Higher Committee met in two weeks.

Throwing light on how the UAE serves a beacon for tolerant societies, the meeting unveiled the design for the Abrahamic Family House, by the award-winning and globally-renowned architect, Sir David Adjaye OBE, which will be located on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi.

A reflection of the Document on Human Fraternity, a church, mosque and synagogue will share a collective space for the first time, serving as a community for inter-religious dialogue and nurturing the values of peaceful co-existence and acceptance among different beliefs, nationalities and cultures.

Hosting some 200 nationalities and letting them live and work in incredible harmony is an accomplishment that most other nations could only dream of. Various grand mosques, churches, temples and gurdwaras offer indisputable evidence of how the UAE promotes unity in diversity.

The secret also lies in the fact that Founding Father late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan planted the seeds of broadmindedness even while establishing the nation.

The declaration of 2019 as the “Year of Tolerance’” by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan is a continuation of the leadership’s consistent approach in implanting precious values in the society.

Highlighting the orderly regulation of places of worship, the Department of Community Development, DCD, in Abu Dhabi organised a ceremony on Sunday to award licences for the existing 18 non-Muslim places of worship in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Licences for five other places of worship were also announced.

The houses of worship in Abu Dhabi have been the historical and cultural monuments of the emirate for decades. Abu Dhabi is home to the St. Joseph Church, founded in 1960s. In addition, Sir Bani Yas Church and Monastery was the first Christian site to be discovered in the UAE.

The social cohesion among the citizens of all religions in the UAE offers a prime model for other nations and peoples to emulate.