Dubai: The UAE is “a great embodiment of the spirit of tolerance, pluralism and empathy, with people representing more than 200 nationalities living in peace, harmony and success on the UAE land,” according to Ameeruddin Thanawalla, President of the Ismaili Community in Dubai.
The choice of the UAE by Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, as the first country in the Gulf to which to pay a visit, he said, is proof of its great international position, especially in humanitarian work, as a global centre for human coexistence and tolerance.
In a statement to the Emirates News Agency, WAM, Thanawalla said, “The UAE is keen to spread the culture of tolerance not only at the local level, but also at the global level through cooperation with the greatest religious figures, such as His Holiness Pope Francis, who is a global religious symbol who plays a leading role in establishing bridges of dialogue and brotherhood between different religions in the world.”
“The UAE,” he added, “is a perfect example of tolerance, integration and acceptance of the other, and the best example of what the future can be.”
Thanawalla went on to recall the statement by the Aga Khan, spiritual leader and 49th Imam of the Ismaili Muslims, at the groundbreaking for the Ismaili Centre in Dubai.
“Let me take this occasion,” he quoted the Aga Khan as saying, “to pay tribute to the experience of the Emirates which, like the lesson of Islam’s history, illustrates admirably what heights are achievable, in realising human potential, when national interest and Muslim identity are anchored in values — our historical values — that widen intellectual horizons, and help build bridges of friendship and understanding.”