Shining bright - GulfToday

Shining bright

UAE Harmony

The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

UAE is walking the talk when it comes to religious harmony. I can but only applaud the leaders of the country for their exemplary vision. The nation is a beacon of light for a world which is being challenged by growing religious intolerance (“UAE will have church, mosque and synagogue in one place,” Sept.22, Gulf Today).

UAE has always been a country that values tolerance and peaceful coexistence, a fact that is highlighted by the incredible harmony that prevails among people of some 200 nationalities that live and work here. The ‘Year of Tolerance’ is further defining the noble values.

Thanks to the enlightened leadership, Christians like me got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the Pontifical Mass in Abu Dhabi earlier this year. In fact Pope Francis’s landmark visit, the first by a Pope to the Gulf, exemplified the country’s resolve toward promoting religious cohesion and brotherhood.

The “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” signed by His Holiness, Pope Francis, and His Eminence Dr. Ahmad Al Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar Al Sharif during the papal visit in February, is a testament of UAE’s commitment to promoting interfaith dialogue, tolerance and peaceful coexistence among people of all religions and faiths.

And now UAE is going a step further by setting up the Abrahamic Family House. ‘It is a profoundly moving moment for humanity’ as the President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Higher Committee member says.

What the President said next moved me. “Although sadly, evil, hatred and division often make news, there is a hidden sea of goodness that is growing and leads us to hope in dialogue, reciprocal knowledge and the possibility of building, together with the followers of other religions and all men and women of goodwill, a world of fraternity and peace.” A message for our times. A message the world needs to hear more often.

There was also a news item in your daily which stated that for the orderly regulation of places of worship, the Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi awarded licences for the existing 18 non-Muslim places of worship. This move will again go a long way in strengthening the houses of worship, a big boon for the respective congregations. Let UAE’s light shine bright.

R Chandra
By email

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