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UAE urges utmost respect for human rights

Lubna highlights need for Christian-Muslim dialogue to promote peace, tolerance and harmony

Gulf News

Geneva: Irrespective of national identity, all people must be assured equal protection of their universal human rights, said Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance.

Addressing an event held by the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue (The Geneva Centre) at the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG) on the sidelines of the 34th ordinary session of the UN Human Rights Council, Shaikha Lubna emphasised the need for Christian-Muslim dialogue as a necessary condition for peace, tolerance and harmony.

She added, “Our states need to protect these human rights. To grant equal protection, we need to rethink our Christian-Muslim dialogue. It is only through engaging in dialogue and accepting the diversity of each other that we can reach a peaceful reconciliation.”

The event was attended by representatives from Muslim and Christian regions of the world who were invited to exchange their views on the convergence between Islam and Christianity.

In his opening remarks, Dr Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qasim, chairman of the Geneva Centre, underscored the significance of garnering the support of Muslim and Christian leaders to restore relations between the two faiths.

“Today we have a tremendous opportunity to discuss the convergences between Islam and Christianity and to continue our joint efforts combining our strengths to promote equal citizenship rights,” he added.

Representing over 500 million Christians in more than 110 countries of the world, the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Reverend Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, observed that the nature of the relationship between the Islamic and Christian communities is of vital significance for the welfare of the “whole human family”.

The event entitled ‘Islam and Christianity, the Great Convergence: Working Jointly Towards Equal Citizenship Rights’ was co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Algeria, Pakistan and Lebanon, as well as the Permanent Observer Mission of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG) that were represented by their respective ambassadors.

Also present at the side event was the director general of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), William Lacy Swing, who highlighted the importance of recognising the convergences of the Abrahamic religions — Islam and Christianity — in order to overcome religious divisions.