ABU DHABI, 9th December, 2019 (WAM) -- Tolerance in the UAE is living in peace with others, respecting their beliefs and cultures, and protecting their places of worship, with a conscious awareness that pluralism and diversity are sources of strength for human societies, said Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, while inaugurating the sixth annual Assembly of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies in Abu Dhabi, with the participation of key religious leaders and spiritual thinkers from around the world.
"Tolerance in the UAE also emphasises the importance of spreading knowledge among the community, which is a strong expression of the desire of the leadership and people to provide freedom and decent lives to all residents. The UAE’s leaders and people are fully committed to the noble values shared by Adam’s children because we realise that promoting tolerance in the country is not only a moral duty but is also key to innovation and an essential tool for achieving overall sustainable development," Sheikh Nahyan told the three-day interfaith meeting, which is being held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
The meeting is being held under the title, "The Role of Religions in Promoting Tolerance: From Possibility to Necessity".
"The concept of tolerance in the UAE is clear to see, due to Allah Almighty, in all its parts, thanks to its wise and loyal leaders, and its peaceful and tolerant people. Allah Almighty graced the UAE and granted its leaders wisdom and foresight, starting with the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who was open to the world, interacted positively with everyone, and was keen to ingrain the values of tolerance, coexistence and equality into law. That was why Sheikh Zayed was an example of justice, compassion, unity, courage and responsibility.''
''The commitment of the UAE to these values and principles was pursued by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, 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 Armed Forces, along with the other UAE leaders,'' he added.
"This was reflected during the papal visit to the UAE earlier this year of His Holiness Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, and Dr. Ahmed Al Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar, who both signed the Document for Human Fraternity. This historic visit was promoted and sponsored by the wisdom and enlightened thought of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, confirming that we in the UAE respect all religions and beliefs and always aim to encourage communication, unity and dialogue between peoples without distinction," he further added.
Sheikh Nahyan also asked the forum's participants to announce that all religions and beliefs establish societies based on affection, compassion, coexistence, communication, security and stability.
Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah, President of the Forum, observed that the Sixth Forum sees a graceful proportion of space, time and title, the title being "tolerance", the time being the "year of tolerance", and the place the "home of global tolerance", the UAE. All these make the forum an international cultural gathering par excellence."
Bin Bayyah said, "Raising tolerance from recognition to acquaintance is a new concept that restores tolerance, and it is the title of the historical stage that brings us together, the children of the Abrahamic family."
Bin Bayyah indicated that the ''New Alliance of Virtue'', whose charter will be launched and signed tomorrow, seeks a dialogue aimed at happy coexistence, as it is a necessity and a duty that all religions advocate.
He also emphasised, "Our alliance is an alliance of virtues and shared values, whose signatories seek to represent these values in their relations, and to call for their compliance in the lives of people."
Bin Bayyah stated, "The charter takes guide of all international covenants and conventions that seek to realise and promote peace, and foster the spirit of harmony and fraternity between countries and peoples, as it is based on all documents and declarations that preceded it, such as the Marrakesh Declaration on the Rights of Religious Minorities, the Abu Dhabi and Washington declarations, The Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together and the Makkah Declaration."
In a pre-event statement, the Forum said the charter aims to elevate religious freedom, cooperation, and tolerance from mere possibilities to necessary ethical commitments and legal obligations, especially in relation to the protection of places of worship whose attacks have threatened freedom of religion in many parts of the world.
The original Alliance of Virtue (hilf al-fudul) was established in early 7th century AD (late 1st century BH) Mecca, to defend the weak and the innocent against the rapaciousness of those more powerful.
Last February in Washington D.C., Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah, led a panel of over 200 individuals from the three Abrahamic faiths and others, comprising religious leaders and senior politicians in creating the modern Alliance of Virtue between religions.
The charter of the New Alliance of Virtue follows the model of the original on a global scale. It brings together those of good-will for the benefit of humanity, an effort across religions to enable its members to live side-by-side in peace and happiness.
The charter doesn’t aim to bridge theological differences, members will instead cooperate based on a common theology of God-given human dignity, seeking virtue for the benefit of all.