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Symposium on "Khalifa and the Culture of Tolerance"

posted on 24/01/2007: 730 views

The Information Affairs Office of Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, has organized a symposium on "Khalifa and the Culture of Tolerance.” Several prominent, religious figures and diplomats took part in the event that was held yesterday in Abu Dhabi.

On this occasion, Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, made a statement in which he said that the United Arab Emirates, with its coherent social structure and complementary, cultural makeup, has witnessed throughout its bright history a unique human coexistence among the nations of the world. A coexistence, which has been based on the virtue of sincerity, magnanimity and respect, regardless of differences in religions or races. This made the UAE a lovely destination among the other nations, for people seeking the protection of its tolerance and stable security, he said.

Sheikh Sultan added that President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was among the first leaders who called for spreading the values of tolerance and confronting the culture of exclusion and rejection for the other, following the deep-rooted approach of his father, late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who sowed the seeds of civilisational and cultural coexistence which is also maintained and strengthened by his good successor until it became part and parcel of the Emirati society.

He added that H.H. President, from the position of his great responsibilities, and in accordance with his great human theory, which believes in the necessity of the coexistence between man and his environment, on the basis of understanding and virtuous, religious and moral principles and ideals, has opened broad horizons of fruitful cooperation between the UAE and the other countries, through his open-minded policy, which recognizes cultural and intellectual peculiarities of his society.

Concluding his statement, Sheikh Sultan said that the religious and cultural tolerance witnessed in the UAE does not need any evidence to prove it, because it is deeply rooted in the Emirati society. He stated that the aim of this symposium, in which a number of religious men of different faiths participated, is to promote the culture of tolerance and dialogue, and to reject the factors that divide peoples and human societies.

Bishop Dr. Paul Hinder, Vicar Apostolic of Arabia, in his paper said "Under the Presidency of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa, the UAE continues to provide a setting where people of good will can live together and express their faith with mutual forbearance, to the profit of all.”

Dr. Alexander Shumilin, Director of the Centre for the Greater Middle East Studies in Moscow, said that Islam and the West are not enemies, they should not threaten each other. He stated that H.H. Sheikh Khalifa went further to say that the relationship between the two civilizations should be complementary and interactive.

The Information Affairs Office presented a paper which pointed out that the message of Islam has been always to promote human coexistence, tolerance, harmony and integration, and to dismiss divergence and dissension. Islam has fought against gender, colour and race discrimination since man is judged and valued pursuant to high human standards and according to his fear of God.

It added that the history proves that the wise leadership of the UAE has put cultural openness into action before the calls from others to adopting this openness have emerged. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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