Dubai: Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance, said the International Day for Tolerance is an important day to remind the world of the increasing necessity for global understanding and respect for human life.
He was addressing ‘A Salute to Tolerant UAE’ event organized by St. Mary’s Catholic Church, to express gratitude to the Rulers and people of the UAE for upholding the values of tolerance.
“We far too often hear of numerous ethnic, religious, cultural, and national conflicts,” Shaikh Nahyan told the gathering.
“We see the rise of exclusive politics and discourses of division, even in places thought to be among the safest countries in the world. This intolerant behaviour threatens to weaken the fabric of living together that is so essential to who we are as human beings.”
He pointed out that “the Year of Tolerance has embraced the notion that only by thinking and working together can we collectively reach the promise that human ingenuity offers for a peaceful and prosperous global society.”
He said the historic visits to the UAE of Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Shaikh Ahmad El Tayeb in February were a great tribute to His Highness Shaikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan who worked tirelessly to make this powerful and historic event possible.
“We were all honoured by their inspirational presence, as global forces for peace and compassion. In issuing the Abu Dhabi Declaration on Human Fraternity, they have focused attention on promoting tolerance around the globe, exemplifying the moral force all must exert if we are to meet the great global challenges of this twenty-first century.”
He praised St. Mary’s Catholic Church for demonstrating the values of tolerance in action.
“Your sense of community is highly evident. Since your inauguration in 1967, you have offered a familiar, homely atmosphere, a place of comfort, for so many. You have been on this journey of tolerance with us from the very beginning, sharing our values in the past and for the future,” Shaikh Nahyan added.
Among other activities, the Church also released a ‘Thank You UAE’ album containing writings, poems and drawings by the people of the parish.
The event was attended by Archbishop Francisco Padilla, Vatican Ambassador to UAE, Bishop Paul Hinder, and Apostolic Vicar of the Vicariate of Southern Arabia, Rev. Fr. Lennie Connully, Parish Priest of St. Mary’s Church, leading UAE government dignitaries and leaders from different faiths.