Religious leaders have made history in Abu Dhabi with the signing of a first-of-its-kind declaration to spread tolerance and peace between different faiths.
The leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Dr Ahmed el Tayeb, signed the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, during their recent visit to the UAE. The declaration aims to build stronger relationships between people and confront extremism and its negative impact.
The signing ceremony took place in the presence of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, UAE vice president, and HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, and was attended by over 400 religious leaders.
During the ceremony, Pope Francis and Dr Ahmed were presented with the first Human Fraternity Award – From Dar Zayed for their pursuit of peace and rejection of extremism, respectively.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Ahmed called on Muslims to protect Christian communities
in the Middle East and for Muslims in the West to integrate into their communities.
Adding to the historic occasion, it was also announced that a new church and mosque are to be built in Abu Dhabi in honour of the event, and will be named the Church of Saint Francis and the Mosque of Grand Imam Ahmed el Tayeb in honour of both leaders.
The foundation stones to be used for each project were signed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan in the presence of the leaders.