Dubai hosts controversial Interfaith Harmony Day

Published February 4th, 2016 - 09:30 GMT

In an age "blurred by borders", inter-religious "harmonious dialogue" is the need of the hour, according to a global conference held in Dubai.

Around 200 local and international delegates representing Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Mormon, Buddhist, Sikh and Zoroastrian faiths converged in Dubai for the World Interfaith Harmony Day on Wednesday.

The day brought together different faiths to "celebrate the principles of tolerance and respect and to strengthen homes and communities" who took a cue from the UAE. Addressing the leaders of various faiths, Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, said the world needed more harmonious dialogues and actions towards global peace.

 Shaikh Nahyan told the delegates who took part in the conference held under his patronage and mandated by the UN: "Our world needs to hear your harmonious dialogue. All of you are dedicated to the well-being of mankind. You recognise that our contemporary world, even after centuries of civilisation, is plagued by seemingly intractable societal problems.

 "Here in the UAE, the policies of the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, have enabled people of diverse nationalities, ethnicities, languages, religious faiths, and cultures to live and work together harmoniously - not just this week of World Interfaith Harmony but all 52 weeks of the year.

 "I am counting on you to innovate and put into action those measures that will ensure families and homes around the world actually hear the harmonious interfaith message inspired by today's discussions," added Shaikh Nahyan.

 Frode Mauring, UN Development Programme Representative in the UAE, Oman and Qatar echoed the same sentiment.

 He said: "Our age is defined by increasingly blurred borders, whether it's by globalisation or migration; that is why disagreements and tensions exist."

"We can learn from the UAE how the country built a society of tolerance and diversity. We need to find solutions together and not in isolation," added Mauring.

Catholic Bishop Dr. Paul Hinder, Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia, told Khaleej Times: "I am happy we had this event for the simple fact that I am convinced if there is no peace among religions there will be no peace in the world."

"Bridging the gap of differences is a long journey but the first step is to understand the source of prejudice. Understanding one's faith does not mean that you need to be converted but learning someone's belief is important in eliminating misconceptions."

The religious leaders were expected to propose the creation of 'Emirates Council for Harmony and Tolerance' to Shaikh Nahyan after the conference, according to Surender Singh Kandhari, chairman of Gurudwara Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara in Dubai, host of the event.

By Angel Tesorero


Copyright © 2021 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved.

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