The Ambassador participated in the Mass of Sunday, November 8, at Regina Pacis Catholic Church; where the Cardinal Antoine Kambanda, who embraced the presence of H.E Hazza Alqahtani, led the Mass.
H.E Hazza Alqahtani thanked the Cardinal for allowing him to participate in the Mass.
"The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was founded in 1971; it is a constitutional federation of seven emirates that include Abu Dhabi the capital and Dubai the economic capital. There are over 200 nationalities living in harmony & coexistence in the UAE today and every major religion is practiced; the expatriate community outnumbers the population of UAE nationals."
According to the Ambassador, the founding father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed was tolerant and called all people to be tolerant themselves, to accept others and coexist with them regardless of color, religion, or beliefs.
“He did this using his compassionate fatherly style, wisdom, and gentle words done with ease and spontaneity to reach the hearts and minds of listeners.” He said
“Diversity, openness, religious tolerance all align with Emirati adherence to moderate Islam, a guiding principle of the UAE’s national identity since 1971. As emphasized by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi H.E. Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE is a nation of tolerance, peace, cultural diversity, and coexistence.” H.E Alqahtani said
The Ministry of Tolerance was created in 2016 and the UAE declared 2019 as the Year of Tolerance & issuance of Document on Human Fraternity.
On February 4th, 2019 His Holiness Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church and spiritual leader to 1.2 billion devotees, arrived in Abu Dhabi, becoming the first pontiff ever to visit the Arabian Peninsula.
“During this momentous visit, Pope Francis met with His Eminence 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 a 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.
“His Holiness Pope Francis said and I quote…. “This visit to the United Arab Emirates belongs to the "surprises" of God. So let us praise Him and His providence, and pray that the seeds sown may bring forth fruits of peace”.”
H.E Alqahtani said that the Abrahamic religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are united by the belief in one God, and all three share in a history connected to the patriarch Abraham.
In an increasingly polarized world, the UAE proposed a dedicated space for inter-faith dialogue.
“Religious tolerance and the embrace of diversity have been a part of the UAE story from the very beginning. And following this, last year I hosted at my Residence, an Inter-Faith Iftar that brought together the leaders of the different religious faiths in Rwanda including His Grace the Cardinal, members of the Diplomatic Corps, and the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Richard Sezibera.”
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.”
“At 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.”
The Abrahamic House of Fraternity will act as a place for religious worship as well as a space for exhibitions, programs, conferences, and interfaith 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.”
He ended his remarks by thanking His Grace Cardinal Antoine Kambanda for the opportunity he was given to share Sunday mass with him.