UAE Ambassador to Rwanda calls for peaceful co-existence between religious groups

By Théophile Niyitegeka
On 15 November 2021 at 10:52

The ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Rwanda, Hazza Mohammed Falah Kharsan AlQahtani has stressed the need to uphold the legacy of tolerance, acceptance and co-existence between people from different religious groups.

He conveyed the message on Sunday as he attended a Church Service at the Free Methodist Cathedral in Kigali.

As he addressed congregants, the ambassador highlighted that religious diversity should not spark misunderstandings but rather a bridge uniting people to live in harmony.

He referred to his country’s case where it accommodates over 200 nationalities living in harmony and co-existence with every major religious denomination represented.

Despite the fact that Islam dominates in his country, AlQahtani explained that other religious denominations are granted freedom they deserve noting that such culture should spread across the world.

He also reminisced on the historical visit of Pope Francis on February 4th, 2019 to Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE becoming the first pontiff ever to visit the Arabian Peninsula.

The ambassador highlighted that it is a great milestone to overcoming barriers hindering co-existence and striving for a peaceful world.

During his momentous visit, Pope Francis met with the Grand Imam Sheikh of al-Azhar Dr. Ahmed al-Tayyib. The two religious leaders signed the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together at the Founder’s Memorial in Abu Dhabi.

The Document of Human Fraternity calls for an end to the use of religion as justification for war, violence and harm and opposes extremism in all forms.

This historic document presents a series of guidelines which denounce violence in the name of religion and urge the adoption of a culture of dialogue and mutual cooperation as a code of conduct and reciprocal understanding.

Amb. AlQahtani said that the Abrahamic religions including; Judaism, Christianity and Islam are united by the belief in one God and all three share in a history connected to the patriarch Abraham.

He stressed the need to promote dialogue and shared his country’s efforts to support the cause.

Amb. AlQahtani revealed that UAE has proposed a dedicated space for inter-faith dialogue.

“The UAE unveiled plans for the Abrahamic House of Fraternity on September 20th 2019 in New York alongside the UN General Assembly. The Abrahamic Family House will be an interfaith complex currently in development in Abu Dhabi, a representation of the Document of Human Fraternity which will feature a church, a mosque, a synagogue and a secular welcome center on one shared site. Currently, in development, the project’s anticipated completion date has been set for the year 2022,” he said.

Amb. AlQahtani further revealed that the Abrahamic House of Fraternity, each of the three houses of faith, a mosque, a church and a synagogue, will stand at the same height to symbolize equality. The design will highlight the often overlooked similarities between the three faiths and their corresponding architectural traditions.

It will act as a place for religious worship as well as a space for exhibitions, programs, conferences and inter-faith dialogue initiatives.

The aim is to be in support of global and regional stability, increased collaborative opportunities of all kinds, expanded economic prosperity, strengthened international relations, and countering violent extremism in all forms, promoting cross-cultural education and promoting peace.

Pastor Benjamin Kayumba heading the Free Methodist Cathedral commended the ambassador’s visit considering it a great step towards uniting people from diverse religious denominations. He also called on Christians to live in harmony with members of the society irrespective of their differences.

In November last year, the ambassador also attended church service led by Cardinal Antoine Kambanda at Regina Pacis Parish where he called for peaceful co-existence.

Ambassador AlQahtanisaid that religious diversity should not spark misunderstandings.
UAE Ambassador to Rwanda joined congregants to offer the tithe.
Ambassador AlQahtani stressed the need to promote dialogue and shared his country’s efforts to support the cause.
Christians have been urged to live in harmony with members of the society irrespective of their differences.