During the first anniversary celebration of the International Day of Human Fraternity, the Department of Community Development (DCD) in Abu Dhabi highlighted the importance of the event that was launched to reject hatred and promote the spirit of tolerance and humanity to achieve world peace and coexistence.
H.E. Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of DCD, said: “Today, the world celebrates the International Day of Human Fraternity, which started following the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity in Abu Dhabi. The commemoration seeks to boost unity, solidarity and cooperation among people belonging to different ethnicities and religions, as well as spread the spirit of tolerance and respect for religious and cultural diversity. The UAE has legislated laws to provide all residents from different religious backgrounds with decent life and criminalize any contempt of religions.”
Al Khaili emphasized that rejecting violence and hatred while adopting human fraternity and acceptance can directly contribute to the development and progress of any nation and support peace and coexistence. He added that since its establishment, the UAE has followed the vision of its founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who sanctified the principles of tolerance, cohesion and community integration. This vision has helped the country become a paradise that attracts people from all around the world to live in love, peace and security. These values are essential to improving the quality of life of UAE community members.
He also noted that, in line with the UAE’s comprehensive development, Abu Dhabi has emerged as a place where different cultures and religions peacefully interact. The people who live in Emirati society have realized that the UAE’s keenness to preserve its national identity does not conflict with the country’s respect for foreign cultures and other religions. On the contrary, it has become necessary to get to know those cultures and help them communicate and integrate with the local community.
The DCD Chairman further stated: “We are proud of the Department’s key role in regulating the establishment of places of worship for non-Muslims in Abu Dhabi, which has become the ideal destination to live, work, travel and invest thanks to its safety, security, social diversity and plurality that are evident in all parts of the emirate.”
H.E. Sultan Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri, Executive Director of Community Engagement and Sports Sector, DCD, said that the Department plays an important role in spreading the spirit of tolerance in society through its continuing efforts to achieve equality and social solidarity, as well as in raising awareness about the religions of all residents who live in the UAE. He affirmed that the Abu Dhabi’s wise leadership has assigned the DCD to develop the legal framework that regulates the establishment of non-Muslim places of worship and oversees their performance. It is also mandated to set the criteria for licensing, inspection and auditing of these institutions.
Al Dhaheri commented: “The DCD was established in Abu Dhabi as a government entity that ensures that places of worship adhere to the existing conditions, procedures and policies, in cooperation and coordination with all partners from government authorities. These efforts will enable places of worship to carry out their activities as stipulated in the regulations and laws with ease and convenience while also preserving the rights of parishioners of all religions and sects. Today, Abu Dhabi has become a leading model for spreading tolerance and social cohesion.”
He further revealed that the UAE is home to more than 200 nationalities of different religions, races and cultures. Everyone enjoys the care and attention of the country’s leadership and citizens. The government believes in their distinct contributions to the country’s comprehensive and sustainable development across all fields, noting that they are an integral part of society.
“The DCD recently issued the ‘Houses of Tolerance’ book in Abu Dhabi, which lists down all the existing and licensed places of worship in the emirate. The book also defines each institution, its establishment date, religious background and location. Additionally, the book showcases some historical contributions made by the religious leaders of those places of worship to Arab and Islamic history,” Al Dhaheri added.
Moreover, the Department released a guide for the multi-faith prayer room, which includes an overview of the room’s concept, as well as relevant licensing standards and conditions in Abu Dhabi. The DCD is currently working on preparing a ‘Religions Handbook’ to be the basic and detailed reference for all religious ethnicities and sects in the country.