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Muslim Council of Elders Pavilion seminar at ADIBF 2024 highlights UAE as model of diversity, coexistence

Muslim Council of Elders Pavilion seminar at ADIBF 2024 highlights UAE as model of diversity, coexistence
5 May 2024 19:01


The Muslim Council of Elders held a seminar titled "The United Arab Emirates as a Model of Diversity and Coexistence” at their Pavilion at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF 2024).

The seminar featured Monsignor Paolo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, along with Dr. Zikrur Rahman, Founding Director of the India Arab Cultural Centre, as well as Dr. Mahmoud Najah, Imam at the Ahmed El-Tayeb Mosque in the Abrahamic Family House, alongside Surender Singh Kandhari, Chairman of Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh Temple in Dubai and His Grace Bishop Mesrob Sarikissian, Armenian Vicar of the United Arab Emirates.

The seminar discussed the UAE as a leading global model in promoting values of tolerance, love, peace, and peaceful coexistence.

At the start of the event, Martinelli said, “This simple meeting is enough to convince me that all different religions can work together under all circumstances and share our different opinions and experiences. I am honoured to serve in a nation that hosted the historic signing of the Document of Human Fraternity between His Eminence the Grand Imam and His Holiness Pope Francis. The words mentioned within the Document of Human Fraternity is in fact experienced by everyone living in the UAE. The wisdom of the rulers of the UAE is encapsulated in the culture of tolerance, respect and coexistence present in the country today and since its inception. The differences between people are not an objection to unity, the most important thing is respect among people of different faiths and backgrounds.”

Najah said, “The United Arab Emirates and its wise leadership have embraced peaceful coexistence, acceptance of others, and tolerance as integral components of life across Emirati society. This represents an authentic approach rooted in the Islamic faith, which recognizes that diversity is a divine decree. This underscores the significance of the Document on Human Fraternity, hailed as the most pivotal document in contemporary human history which was co-signed by eminent religious figures: His Eminence Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders, along with His Holiness Pope Francis of the Catholic Church. The event was held under the esteemed patronage of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and was a historic gathering, hosted in Abu Dhabi, which advocated for noble values such as peace, justice, and respect for freedom of belief, thought, and culture.”

Rahman stated, “The United Arab Emirates is a symbol of coexistence, peace and happiness not only for the region but for the entire world. Since its inception, it has been a melting pot cultures and religions, which is a tremendous achievement for a Muslim nation in these times. My many meetings and encounters with the leadership and people of the United Arab Emirates have been filled with respect and admiration and I will forever be grateful to this nation for being such a hospitable and generous country. The Document on Human Fraternity as well as the Abrahamic Family House are legacies of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE, which is continuing to be followed by the current leadership.”

Kandhari noted, “The UAE has been a beacon of tolerance for the entire world as the only nation with a dedicated Ministry of Tolerance ensuring continued efforts in the fields of tolerance, coexistence and mutual understanding between people of different backgrounds. We are blessed to reside in this multi-faceted nation which was founded on a strong foundation of love and respect for everyone. I am proud to say that the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara (which was built with a grant from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai) is a world-famous landmark for Sikhs around the world, with over one million visitors each year.”

His Grace Bishop Mesrob Sarikissian expressed his appreciation and gratitude to the Muslim Council of Elders for inviting him to participate in a seminar discussing the United Arab Emirates as a model of peaceful coexistence.

Additionally, he pointed out that the values of tolerance, human fraternity, and diversity have a historical presence in the Emirates since ancient times with churches such as the St. Peter and St. Paul's Churches in Sir Bani Yas, and churches in the Emirate of Fujairah and other regions of the country.

Furthermore, he also noted that the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was keen on promoting the values of diversity, acceptance of others, fraternity, equality, cooperation, mutual respect, and justice among the various segments of Emirati society.

The wise leadership followed his approach by supporting laws, legislation, and all efforts aimed at promoting tolerance, cultural, and religious diversity.

Consequently, he added that the UAE has become a global capital where different civilizations converge and its residents live while practicing their beliefs and religious rituals freely, with respect and peace.

The Muslim Council of Elders is participating at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair with over 220 publications in 5 different languages, including 22 new releases addressing key intellectual issues.

Moreover, it is set to host a series of seminars focusing on topics such as dialogue, tolerance, coexistence, youth, peacebuilding, and the environment alongside a corner for Arabic calligraphy and several entertainment activities for children.

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