WelCom September 2020
In February last year, Pope Francis made an historic visit to the United Arab Emirates, on the Arabian Peninsular, to meet with Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Iman of al-Azhar of Egypt. On 4 February the two religious leaders jointly signed The Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, an historic statement that calls for universal peace.
The document represents not only a milestone in relations between Christianity and Islam but also a message with a strong impact internationally. In the preface, after affirming that ‘Faith leads a believer to see in the other a brother or sister to be supported and loved’, the text invites ‘all persons who have faith in God and faith in human fraternity to unite and work together’.
On Tuesday 6 October 2020, the UAE Embassy in Wellington, together with members of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Interfaith Council, will host a presentation about the significance of the Document and some of the developments taking place as a result – including the Abrahamic Family House, an interfaith complex currently in construction in Abu Dhabi.
The presentation will be at 6pm, St Joseph’s Church, Mt Victoria, Wellington.
The Charge d’affaires of the UAE Embassy in Wellington, Mr Matar Almansoori, and Cardinal John Dew will be among the speakers.
All are welcome to attend, however due to Covid-19 contact tracing requirements, please register by Monday 28 September, with the UAE Embassy, Wellington, at email: WellingtonEMB.AMO@mofaic.gov.ae with your name, contact phone number and email address.
Mr Matar Almansoori said, ‘the Document outlines our shared commitment to harmonious existence through dialogue and through understanding. The UAE was built on tolerance out of both visionary wisdom and need. Following independence in 1971, the seven emirates needed to overcome differences for the common good. The founder of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed was also a devout man, who believed all human beings to be brothers, regardless of culture or religion.
‘The two religious leaders signed the Document at the UAE Founder’s Memorial in Abu Dhabi, Mr Matar Almansoori said. ‘2019 was the UAE Year of Tolerance, and provided a year full of activities and events to encourage us getting to know more about each other, and better yet, understand, accept, each other. It was a year dedicated to peace, humanity, coexistence, and respect.
‘In August last, the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity was established in UAE to execute the objectives described within the Document of Fraternity. One of the Committee’s first initiatives is the development of the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi. It will feature a church, a mosque, a synagogue and a secular welcome centre on one shared site. It will be a beacon of mutual understanding, harmonious existence and peace among people of faith and goodwill.’