During the event, speakers discussed the critical importance of enhancing tolerance and mutual understanding at a time when conflict, polarization, and strife are rampant. H.E. Majid Al Suwaidi stated that in spite of the rise of parochialism and violent extremism, the UAE has continuously worked to promote mutual understanding and build bridges between different cultures and creeds.
As such, he remarked that promoting tolerance and embracing diversity are integral parts of the UAE’s identity and an important part of the legacy that the country has built since its founding.
Moreover, he mentioned that these values were underscored by the historic visit of His Holiness Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, to the UAE on February 4, 2019, during which His Holiness and His Eminence Dr. Ahmed El-Tayyeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, signed the first Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.
“The UAE has tirelessly worked to spread a culture of tolerance through many initiatives, such as the Year of Tolerance and the establishment of the Abrahamic Family House, which will become the first complex to host a mosque, church, and synagogue together.
It will be a center and space for mutual understanding and interfaith dialogue open to everybody,” Al Suwaidi said. Al Suwaidi added that the United Nations' acceptance of the UAE’s proposal to consider February 4 as the International Day of Human Fraternity should be celebrated to commemorate both the historic visit of His Holiness Pope Francis and the importance of interreligious dialogue to ensure peaceful coexistence between different cultures and creeds.
H.E. Omar Ghobash highlighted in his speech that the UAE, since its founding as a nation on December 2, 1971, has exerted significant effort to promote peace and harmony worldwide.
These principles remain the basis of the UAE’s domestic and foreign policy, whose foundations were laid by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God rest his soul in peace, and developed under the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.
Ghobash added that the UAE is one of the few countries where more than 200 nationalities coexist peacefully and where everyone is welcome to practice their faith freely.
“I am proud that the International Day of Human Fraternity will be celebrated every year thanks to the efforts and endeavors of the UAE in promoting a culture of tolerance and in commemoration of the values highlighted by the Document on Human Fraternity, which calls for the renunciation of violence in the name of religion and urges the adoption of a culture of dialogue and mutual cooperation.
As such, the document is a historic landmark in fostering dialogue between different faiths and reaffirms the UAE as a role model in this regard,” stated Ghobash. His Eminence Cardinal Peter Turkson added that this pursuit is shown through the many projects that aim to serve humanity and the world.
The Cardinal also praised the high level of cooperation between the UAE and the Holy See in promoting peace, stability, moderation, and openness, with the UAE serving as a global role model throughout the exceptional circumstances currently facing the world.
“I hope that the Abrahamic Family House project will be completed soon, which will be a beacon for mutual understanding, harmonious coexistence, and peace among peoples of different religions.
It is a project that embodies the values of human fraternity,” Turkson concluded. H.E. Majid Al Suwaidi concluded the session by thanking both H.E. Omar Ghobash and His Eminence Cardinal Peter Turkson for their participation in the session