Tue 16-11-2021 22:15 PM
DUBAI, 16th November, 2021 (WAM) -- Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, expressed his faith that the inspiration and energy that the Interfaith Summit provides to redouble efforts for a world of tolerance and peace is very vital.
''It emphasizes the importance of dialogue among people of diverse cultures, with the full realization that common words and discussion bind us more, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak said.
Sheikh Nahyan also pointed out that the common factors between all faiths and religions are many, in which ''we find an affirmation of respect for human life and the desire for peace and security, as well as orders to value each other as individuals in a way that guides the followers of these religions to live the life they deserve.'' "There is no doubt that life on earth does not represent the whole truth, so everyone should be moderate and reflective about the way they live, so as to ensure human development around the world, while preserving the environment that God has endowed for mankind," Sheikh Nahyan said.
This came during the opening of the National Festival of Tolerance’s international activities that are being organized by the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence at Expo 2020 Dubai. Among those activities are the Global Tolerance Alliance and Joint World Summit of Religions, which witnessed presence of prominent international leaders from the UN, the Vatican, Al Azhar Al Sharif, leaders of different religions and law and prominent thinkers from different countries of the world.
The international events opened by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, also included the "Sallam mina Alemarat" (peace from UAE) that was sung by a choir of 219 people representing 150 countries participating in Expo 2020 Dubai. He also launched of the Global Youth Forum, which witnessed significant presence from various institutions and youth leaders around the world, who presented their vision for the future of global tolerance, for the sake of humanity. The Festival further featured the "Tolerance and Inclusivity" session at Expo 2020. It presented a humanitarian vision to promote the values of tolerance and coexistence for a successful economic environment in which everyone contributes, regardless of their differences.
Speaking to attendees at the Festival, Sheikh Nahyan said, "The Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence is honored to organize this interfaith meeting as part of Tolerance and Inclusivity Week at Expo 2020 Dubai. We are pleased to be able to host an event that brings together scholars, clerics, and intellectuals for interfaith dialogue and action. We thank our partners who are helping with its organization: Expo 2020 Dubai, the G20 Interfaith Forum 2021, the Italian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, and the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity."
He continued, "In the UAE, we have always strived to serve as a catalyst for peace, tolerance, understanding, and stability in the world. A recent milestone in these efforts was when His Holiness Pope Francis and His Eminence Dr. Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, graciously accepted the invitation of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to visit the UAE and to issue the historic Abu Dhabi Declaration on Human Fraternity."
"The Crown Prince’s invitation came from the heart of a leader whose tolerance mirrors that of our founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who believed that tolerance, compassion, and dialogue are essential to enabling understanding and peace," Sheikh Nahyan said.
He added that Sheikh Zayed had welcomed to the UAE, men and women of sound moral character irrespective of their nationality, religion, culture, ethnicity, or economic status. He imparted that wisdom to the Crown Prince whose energy, vision, and commitment to tolerance and peace have enabled all of us to appreciate the role that the UAE plays on the world stage, Sheikh Nahyan added.
He also stressed that with His Highness Sheikh Mohamed’s guidance and leadership, the UAE has become a beacon for tolerance and cooperation in a world characterized by heightened tension and increased divisions.
"In the UAE, we are a society dedicated to a future of tolerance, compassion, human fraternity, and love of God. We talk to one another. We learn from one another. We work peacefully and productively together. We demonstrate a conviction and an ability to bring hope and optimism to cultural and religious relationships that have long been characterized by doubt and lack of trust," Sheikh Nahyan added.
He continued, "We believe that the only strategy that will reduce, and eventually eliminate, conflict emerging from religious or cultural differences is direct action to find common ground among people of all nations, cultures, and faiths."
He further stressed that common ground is possible when all people come to know and respect one another as equals in their quest for peace and harmony in our world.
"We in the UAE believe that the need to move away from suspicion and fear and toward mutual trust and acceptance is greater now than ever before. That is why discussions at this meeting, here today, carry special significance in the year 2021," he said.
He said, "The Expo 202 Dubai provides us with great opportunities for learning about others, for cultural exchange, for observing human fraternity in action, and for cooperation and joint undertakings. The EXPO will help us educate ourselves; educate public opinion and policy makers. It will hopefully help people around the world resist hatred, mistrust, and stereotypical attitudes, respect people of other beliefs, and live together in peace and harmony."
Sheikh Nahyan also explained that uniting people of differing faiths, finding common ground among those who come from different cultural traditions, harnessing the core values that are common to all religions should lead people everywhere to work together for a world of mutual understanding. A world of tolerance, empathy, and justice, a world without extremism, violence, and hate, a world of peace, prosperity, safety, and a better future for all human beings, he added.
"Tolerance and human fraternity in action will promote dialogue among strangers and will lead to an informed understanding of the identity and difference of human beings, and help solve many of the world’s great global challenges," Sheikh Nahyan said.
He added, "I am a strong believer that tolerance and human fraternity will help us recognize the moral imperative for improving the health and safety of all individuals, deal with important environmental issues, solve conflicts and political disagreements, and help improve education and encourage innovation so that all citizens can contribute to a knowledge-based economy."
Sheikh Nahyan concluded, saying, "Our job, and the job that I hope this conference will commit itself to, is to help build a tidal wave of support for tolerance, human fraternity, and interfaith action around the world. The twenty-first century, with all its challenges, is giving us an opportunity for interfaith dialog and action. We are counting on you here today to innovate and put into action new measures that will ensure that people around the world come together as members of one human family."
For his part, Miguel Angel Moratinos, High Representative for the U.N. Alliance of Civilizations, said that it is of great importance for the world with its countries, governments and peoples to believe in the value and importance of pluralism as a richness of human thought and human civilization. It is not an obstacle to any future cooperation, he added, calling for prevailing cooperation and dialogue.
As for Marina Serini, Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, she pointed to the various methods and ways to enhance human fraternity among all nations and peoples by creating an international climate that allows global cooperation in various fields and deepening the culture of interfaith dialogue for a better future for humanity.
Dr. Mohammad Al-Duweni, Undersecretary of Al Azhar Al Sharif, talked about the relationship between faith and humanity, with reference to the principles of the Human Fraternity Document signed by the Sheikh of Al Azhar and the Pope of the Vatican in Abu Dhabi on February 4, 2019. It opened the doors to regulate relations between followers of religions and beliefs, in a way that guarantees human dignity and does not eliminate identities. He also pointed out that the world is currently in dire need of real initiatives and sincere efforts to confront religious and intellectual extremism, which threatens relations between nations and fuels theories of conflict.
Pujya Brahmavihari Swami, the Religious Leader and International spokesman of BAPS Hindu Mandir - Abu Dhabi, stressed the importance of enabling global communication through interfaith dialogue and understanding, asserting its role in promoting human values, and supporting international peace and security, by giving priority to cooperation and confronting intolerance.
For his part, Imam Yahya Sergio Yahe Pallavicini, head of the Italian Muslim community and ambassador of the ISESCO Center for Civilizational Dialogue, raised one of the most vital issues on the summit, which is the importance of creating spaces for interfaith relations.
While the speech of Surender Singh Kandhari, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh Temple in Dubai, pointed to the experience of the UAE as a beacon of tolerance, understanding and dialogue between religions, and the importance of being a positive example that benefits from contemporary global experiences.