The Department of Community Development - Abu Dhabi (DCD), in collaboration with Qasr Al Watan, arranged a visit for the clerics to the presidential palace, to provide them in-depth knowledge and insights on the rich Arabic heritage, the history of the UAE, as well as its vision into the future. The visit served as an ideal opportunity for knowledge exchange and cross-cultural interaction and exemplified the values of fraternity and compassion as a link that binds humankind. It also contributed to reinforcing Abu Dhabi’s status as the proponent of peace and societal harmony, both regionally and globally.
The visit, which coincided with the celebration of the International Day for Tolerance, saw the presence of His Excellency Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development, His Excellency Muhammad Al Balooshi, Executive Director of the Community Participation and Sports Sector, His Excellency Mubarak Al Ameri, Executive Director of Social Licensing and Control Sector at the Department of Community Development - Abu Dhabi, as well as a number of clerics from various places of worship in Abu Dhabi.
His Excellency Dr. Khamis Al Khaili welcomed the clerics to the palace, emphasising that they are a vital constituent of the society. He asserted that the visit echoes the spiritual harmony and peace that exists between all facets of the society in Abu Dhabi, as well as exemplifies the approach of our wise leadership to improve societal harmony and cohesion. Furthermore, His Excellency claimed that non-Muslim places of worship, which has existed for more than several years, is one of the civilised aspects of the city and demonstrates the committed efforts of Abu Dhabi in consolidating the values of fraternity, compassion, and benevolence.
HE further emphasised the DCD’s commitment to propagating the ideals of coexistence, tolerance, love, and brotherhood, and constructing a tolerant society that radiates the spirit of love, fraternity, security, stability, and happiness through partnerships with various entities. He also pointed out that tolerance ensures the stability of societies as well as constant progress.
Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili added: “The DCD plays a pivotal role in developing a legal framework that regulates the establishment of places of worship, associations of public benefit, clubs, and sports institutions, as well as creating standards for licensing, inspection, and auditing of these organisations. It additionally oversees the compliance of these organisations with several systems and standards, as well as various rules in place. The DCD promotes communication and fosters strong relationships with all subjects and communities of various religions in Abu Dhabi and strives to responsibly incorporate them into the society. We consider them as an integral part of social development in Abu Dhabi, as well as the UAE.”
The delegation of clerics was given an introductory tour around the Qasr Al Watan during the visit and witnessed the impressive lighting displays that represent the ambitions and visions of our wise leadership. They also admired the role of DCD in fostering the ideals of cohesion and harmony among societies as well as supporting places of worship and their associated communities.
In the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the DCD oversees the licensing of non-Muslims’ places of worship for other faiths, particularly given that Abu Dhabi has about 23 such places. The St. Joseph's Church, the first Coptic religious edifice, was established by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 1965. He also licensed and opened three multireligious rooms for non-Muslims to enable communities to practice their religious rituals in a variety of recreational, cultural, and tourism facilities. The DCD aims to build a prosperous society reflecting the values of cohesion, tolerance, etc., as well as promote the principles of brotherhood as well as religious and cultural diversity in Abu Dhabi.