Ahmed Shaaban (Cairo)
Today, Wednesday, February 1, the world celebrates the International Interfaith Harmony Week, which was approved by the United Nations in 2010.
The International Week of Harmony is the basis for mutual understanding and interfaith dialogue, which are two important dimensions of the global culture of peace and interfaith harmony, which makes the Global Week a means of promoting harmony among all people regardless of their religion. Al-Azhar scholars and Christian clerics valued the efforts of the UAE in achieving harmony and dialogue among people, which aim to establish peace and coexistence, and stressed that religions are a positive force that calls for tolerance and acceptance of the other, building bridges and cooperation between everyone of different races, beliefs and colors.
A number of Islamic and Christian clerics stressed in statements to Al-Ittihad on the occasion of the World Interfaith Harmony Week, the importance of referring to the provisions of the “Human Fraternity Document” that affirmed harmony and harmony among people of different religions, and taking from it to clarify how to deal with the other, and correct misconceptions.
For years, the UAE has led international efforts to promote dialogue and rapprochement between religions, in line with the country’s historical legacy of religious tolerance and embracing diversity and its strategic direction in establishing peace and spreading love and goodness throughout the world, since its founding by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God bless him and grant him peace. God bless him.
The state seeks to build bridges of communication and interaction between different religions and cultures, and coexistence among all peoples and societies, through its sponsorship and hosting of a large number of international events and forums, including the G20 Interfaith Forum, which was held in December 2022 in Abu Dhabi.
Respect for religions
Dr. Abdel Ghaffar Abdel Sattar, Professor of Hadith Sciences at Al-Azhar University, appreciated the efforts of the UAE in rapprochement, harmony and dialogue between religions, which aim to establish peace, coexistence, tolerance and human brotherhood among people of different beliefs, pointing out that Islam respects other religions and endorses peaceful coexistence among their followers.
Dr. Abdel Sattar said in a statement to Al-Ittihad that religion is one, and that all prophets brought the truth of submission to God, and there is consistency and interdependence between the heavenly religions, and that Islam opened the door to dialogue with everyone, and prohibited assaulting money and honor, and gave those who differ in religion a life in safety and security. .
Abdul Ghaffar affirmed respect for the other, regardless of his color, gender, and religion, and dealing with him as a human being.
The “Human Fraternity” document signed by the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, and the Pope of the Vatican in Abu Dhabi in 2019 and under the generous patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the State, may God protect him, brings together the world’s religions, races and colors. The document is an unprecedented historical event, and it came after the decision of the United Nations General Assembly unanimously to adopt February 4 of each year as the International Day of Human Fraternity through which calls for adherence to the values of coexistence between religions and peace, and the dedication of principles of dialogue, understanding and a culture of tolerance among people.
For his part, the head of the Evangelical community in Egypt, Rev. Dr. Andre Zaki, affirmed that religions are a positive force that calls for tolerance, acceptance of the other, and building bridges, and therefore the role they play in coexistence is very important, and the fact that the United Nations adopts the Interfaith Harmony Week, this confirms the importance of religion over all levels. Dr. Andre added in a statement to Al-Ittihad that people of different religions should always be encouraged to stress the importance of building bridges and the deep concept of tolerance, and that there should be a place for the different other. When religions call for tolerance, they build coexistence, pluralism and acceptance of the other.
In November 2021, during the “Expo Dubai 2020” activities, the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence launched the “Global Alliance for Tolerance” initiative, which calls for intensifying international efforts to promote a culture of tolerance among all nations and peoples.
And in 2021, the “Inter-religious World Summit” was launched in Dubai, which annually brings together prominent international leaders and leaders of different religions and laws, with the aim of building stronger bridges between different religions and beliefs in the world, and focusing on what brings humanity together in terms of common views on human values.
Coexistence and acceptance of the other
Dr. Ahmed Mahmoud Karima, a professor of Islamic law at Al-Azhar University, said that Islamic legislation approved religious diversity, pointing out that Islam praised the Jewish and Christian laws and the Torah and the Bible.
Dr. Karima explained in a statement to Al-Ittihad that Islam urged coexistence and acceptance of the other, stressing the importance of the dialogue of civilizations between followers of religions so that all people can live in common things related to human rights, environmental protection, brotherhood, the reconstruction of the universe, and community peace.
In 2018, the UAE witnessed the “Alliance of Religions for Community Security: Child Dignity in the Digital World” forum, in which about 450 followers of different religions participated, with the aim of enriching dialogue, confronting and discussing serious social challenges, strengthening joint efforts, and coming up with unified ideas to enhance the protection of societies.
Karima stressed that “in order to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people, there must be cultural centers that highlight the common areas in which followers of religions can coexist,” noting the importance of benefiting from what came in the “Document of Human Fraternity” that urges coexistence, respect and acceptance. The other, appreciating the UAE’s efforts and initiatives in spreading the values of tolerance, coexistence, peace, and renunciation of violence and hatred.
The Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi highlights the common values of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, and at the same time preserves each religion’s specificity, thus presenting a global edifice that embodies the communication of human civilizations and heavenly messages, and embodies the values of mutual respect and understanding between the followers of the three monotheistic religions.
Recognizing the urgent need for dialogue between different religions, and to promote mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people, the United Nations General Assembly encourages all countries to support the World Interfaith Harmony Week, to spread the message of harmony and concord through churches, mosques, temples of the world, and other places of worship, on the basis of Voluntary and in accordance with their religious convictions and traditions.
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