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Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan during his keynote at Interfaith Summit at Italy Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai on Tuesday Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence has launched ‘The Global Tolerance Alliance’ at the Interfaith Summit held at Expo 2020 Dubai on Tuesday.

Backed by the ethos outlined by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, the global initiative will be a platform for tolerance and peaceful coexistence to become an integral part of the lives of global citizens.

The alliance was launched at the Italy Pavilion where Sheikh Nahyan delivered a keynote address. The summit also witnessed other government and religious leaders unanimously calling for a world leaning towards compassion through tolerance and interfaith understanding.

Sheikh Nahyan said: “Dubai is firmly set on a mission that emphasises regional and international dialogue and cooperation. Today [Tuesday], the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence is charged with the responsibility of managing and enacting all the pillars of the ‘National Tolerance Programme’ that falls under its remit, as endorsed and approved by the UAE Federal Cabinet. The UAE is committed to join with the entire world in support of tolerance, pluralism, and peaceful and mutually beneficial coexistence.”

He added: “As the UAE celebrates its golden jubilee, the emirates is ready to journey towards the next 50 [years] by sharing its experience as a peaceful and prosperous nation, and to gain from others a wider understanding of the universal power of working together for the benefit of all of humanity.”

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Delegates during the summit Image Credit: Supplied

Global Tolerance Alliance

The Global Tolerance Alliance will provide countries an opportunity to join in establishing a common platform to network and benefit from opportunities to learn, discover and appreciate important relationships between themselves and their world.

“It will provide avenues of collaboration, between themselves and their fellow human beings, and between their nations and other nations. The Global Tolerance Alliance shall become a beehive of opportunity for shared thinking between nations on core values of tolerance and best practices in harmonious coexistence.”

According to the Alliance, all facets of life shall be explored to promote tolerance and understanding covering a wide variety of topics ranging from culture and language, interfaith appreciation, through economics, innovation, medicine, science and technology.

‘Our greatest fortune’

Sheikh Nahyan said: “The UAE is a vital part of the world, for it represents one of the oldest centres of civilisation. It has always been a crossroads for people, ideas, and commerce, and it has always welcomed travellers with unconditional hospitality.”

“Our greatest fortune in the United Arab Emirates has been that the leaders of our country are people of wisdom and vision. Core values of tolerance and coexistence have been the foundation from the very beginning that gave rise to the UAE as sown by the nation’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.”

Perspective from Malta

Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, Grand Chancellor, Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, said: “I am very pleased and humbled to have been invited to participate in this summit. We all share the intention that religions have to dialogue for peace and promoting human dignity.”

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Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager at the summit Image Credit: Anjana Kumar/Gulf News

“In Malta we are mainly involved in humanitarian operations for around the globe across 120 countries. And it’s our principle to work together with local communities and especially in this case, with religious leaders as well. From this summit we hope to raise awareness on the importance of inter religious dialogues and cooperation. Without this we will not achieve peace.”

Focus on interfaith dialogue

Rev Msgr Tomasz Trafny, Deputy Commissioner General of Holy See Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “The interfaith dialogues is one of the most important issues for the world. This is a very important point in bringing people together of different faith. From this Alliance, I hope to raise awareness among people that we should not use religion as an excuse to fight with each other. This will be an important step towards building a peaceful coexistence.”

Harmony in UAE

Dr Surender Singh Kandhari

Also speaking at the event, Dr Surender Singh Kandhari, a businessman based in Dubai, said: “I came to Dubai, my adopted home in 1976. During my 45 years, I have seen a lot of growth, development, acceptance, love and tolerance in all the communities living in the UAE. The UAE is committed to be at the forefront of enabling harmonious co-existence among all religions and cultures in propelling progressive society through the value of tolerance.”

Reaching out to communities

He added that this commitment was manifested to the Sikh community when His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, granted 25,400 square feet of land for free to build “the world’s most modern and the region’s largest” Gurudwara Sikh temple, the Guru Nanak Darbar Dubai.

Dr Kandhari also said: “His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, ordered the construction of the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi to commemorate the historic visit of Pope Francis and Grand Imam Ahmad Al Tayyeb, to reflect the peaceful coexistence of different communities in the UAE.

“It was a truly ambitious initiative by the leadership and by the announcement to build an Abrahamic Family House – a massive new landmark in Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island that would bring a church, a mosque and a synagogue within the same collective space to create a community for interfaith dialogue and for understanding and acceptance of different religious beliefs, nationalities and cultures.”

He also mentioned the Abraham Accords Peace Agreement between UAE and Israel as an example of UAE’s commitment to regional cooperation.