Wed 26-04-2017 20:43 PM
ROME, 26th April 2017 (WAM) - The Holy Father, Pope Francis, Head of the Roman Catholic Church, this morning received at The Vatican a delegation from the United Arab Emirates headed by Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance.
Sheikha Lubna and her delegation also met with Cardinal Jean- Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, where various avenues of joint cooperation were discussed with regards to enriching the values of tolerance worldwide. Topics included the values and language of dialogue between various religions, cultures, and races that can lead to common human benefit and happiness; the reinforcement of global solidarity to confront the forces of prejudice, hatred, extremism and violence; and the need to emphasize the equality of all people, with no distinctions being made based on the basis of origins, gender, colour, religion, creed, schools of thought, sect, or social status.
Sheikha Lubna outlined to Cardinal Touran the philosophy of tolerance that the Emirates follows under the wise direction of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE,His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai; and His Highness sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Sheikha Lubna also emphasized the need to build bridges of communication and dialogue between various religions, cultures, and peoples that form our one world, to work together to enrich the channels of understanding and solidarity and to reinforce the values of tolerance, coexistence, peace, respect for plurality and the acceptance of other ideas, cultures, religions, and sects. She also referred to the importance of global cooperation and solidarity in fighting the plague of extremism, hate, prejudice and racism that do not express our common human instinct nor our joint global values.
During this meeting, Sheikha Lubna also explained the established national constant principles upon which the UAE’s leadership, government, and people base their human interactions and civilized relationships and communications with various nationalities, cultures, religions, and creeds, without distinction.
She noted that the basis for these interactions was justice, fairness, and living together within a framework of brotherhood, love, synergy, and affection. The UAE hosts over 200 nationalities living in dignity and safety, working together in appreciation and respect of each other and interacting in harmony and togetherness, she said.
Dr. Mohammed Matar al Kaabi, Chairman of the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments, stated that: "The UAE has taken rapid steps to consolidate the values of tolerance and to correct misconceptions and misinterpretations regarding tolerance in our revered faith of Islam. Among them has been the supervision and renewal of religious dialogue in conformity with the principles of Islam that call for mercy, cooperation, dialogue, coexistence and respect. Further, the Friday sermon has a unified message so as to achieve these lofty aims, thereby enduring that the right messages reach the diverse members of the public."
During their visit, the delegation also visited the Vatican Archive, accompanied by Dr. Isabelle Mathian, Senior Secretary of the Cardinal President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The delegation was also shown drawings, documents and other items in the Vatican Library, including material dealing with the history of the Arab world.
Dr. Abdulla Al Raisi, Director General of the National Archives, said that this visit was part of the approach of the National Archives in accordance with the sound vision of the country's wise leadership and as part of our firmly established belief that tolerance is the basis of the links between civilizations, in order to achieve peace and solidarity and reject violence and extremism.
Establishing a culture of tolerance and reinforcing it in our age is among the leading human values upon which the UAE leadership has placed the highest importance, since tolerance is the basis for peaceful coexistence and dialogue between civilizations and cultures, he noted.
Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Government Relations of Government of Sharjah, outlined the importance of the fruitful cooperation between the Sharjah Museums Department and the Vatican Museums, as shown during the 2014 exhibition in the UAE of a collection of pieces from the Vatican Ethnological Museum.
These institutions continue to co-operate on plans for international exhibitions that reflect the spirit of tolerance, human inter-communication and dialogue among the world’s various cultures.
Maqsoud Kruse, the Executive Director of Hedayah, The International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, pointed out that this historic visit expresses the true path that the UAE has taken and the exceptional leadership of the nation’s wise leadership in promoting the concept of international tolerance and peaceful coexistence between the world’s civilizations by building bridges of cultural communication and civilizational openness. This contributes in a practical and efficient way in fighting hate speech, discrimination and extremism while establishing the values of tolerance, love, and peace.
Dr. Omar Al-Muthanna, M.D. Chief Executive Officer, Licensing and Regulatory Sector at the Community Development Authority (CDA) in Dubai, also clarified that the UAE is a messenger of peace and a symbol for tolerance and diversity among the various creeds, religions, and cultures. The Vatican visit, he noted, embodies the lasting Emirati heritage as the UAE is a giving, tolerant nation that acts as a force for good, tolerance, generosity and brotherhood.
The UAE delegation headed by Sheikha Lubna Bint Khaled Al Qasimi included Dr. Hissa Al- Otaiba UAE Ambassador to Spain and non-resident Ambassador to the Vatican, Dr. Mohammed Matar al Kaabi Chairman of the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments, Dr. Abdulla Al Raisi Director General of The National Archives, Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Government Relations, Government of Sharjah, Maqsoud Kruse Executive Director of Hedayah, The International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, Dr. Omar Al-Muthanna, M.D. - Chief Executive Officer, Licensing and Regulatory Sector at the Community Development Authority, CDA, in Dubai, Dr. Abdulaziz Nasser Al-Risi - Administrative Development Consultant - Assistant Undersecretary at the National Archives, Yasser Saeed Hareb, Member of the Executive Office of the Council of the Muslim Council of Elders, Rashed Ahmed Al-Teneiji, Director of Support Services Departments and Member of National Program for Tolerance Team, Ahmed Khalfan Khamis Al Suwaidi, Manager of the General Services Administration in the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments, William Richardson Counsellor in Hedayah, The International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, and Peter Hellyer, Adviser at the National Media Council.