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UAE gives full support to global interfaith dialogue

posted on 14/11/2008: 1138 views



New York - ted Arab Emirates has reiterated its full support to the global interfaith dialogue, initiated by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia.

Addressing the Interfaith Confab currently being hosted in New York by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in response to a call by King Abdullah, the UAE Supreme Council member and Ruler of Fujairah, H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Sharqi said that the diversity of faiths and cultures is a valuable human heritage, which needs to be protected. This diversity can be perpetuated through collective efforts to preserve the sublime human values enshrined by various faiths, and holding together to combat aggression and oppression.

'Followers of various faiths should help each other to let the truth and peace prevail', Sheikh Hamad said.

Sheikh Hamad is heading UAE delegation to the conference as tasked by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to represent him at the world event.

Heads of States of several countries including US President George Bush, Prime Minister of UK Gordon Brown, Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, President Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, King Juan Carlos of Spain, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa and Israeli President Shimon Perez.

Sheikh Hamad said that through accepting the call made by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, earlier in July in Madrid, for a wider global interfaith dialogue, United Nations has enhanced its vital role for building the alliance of civilisations across the world. This will spread the principles of tolerance and the culture of peace; Sheikh Hamad noted in his speech addressing 67 representatives of various nations gathered at the blue-and-gold hall of the UN General Assembly.

Earlier in his opening speech, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had sharply criticised the so-called Islamophobia, describing it a 'new term for an old and terrible form of prejudice'. Ban Ki-moon opened his speech with the Islamic greeting 'Assalamu Alikum', a prayer that means 'Peace be on you'.

In his speech, Sheikh Hamad called on the world community to adopt the recommendations of the Madrid conference.

'We urge the world family to adopt all the valuable recommendations enshrined in the Madrid communiqué of interfaith dialogue', Sheikh Hamad said.

'We have to work together to propagate the culture of tolerance and dialogue, support its institutions, widen its horizons and endorse it as the way into world peace. We have to stop squandering the world's human resources and refrain from threatening the future of our planet', Sheikh Hamad made an emotional call.

'Understanding among religions should be based on full respect to the sovereignty of individual countries, their territorial integrity, the distinctiveness of the faiths they follow and their economic and social characteristics', Sheikh Hamad underscored.

He stressed that the programmes aimed at spreading the culture of peace should guarantee the respect to religions and their symbols and the role of worship. The practices of intentional distortion and tarnishing of religions should end, Sheikh Hamad stressed.

He noted that the UN conventions and the Human Rights Declaration epitomise in them the respect to religions and the freedom of faith.

In his speech, Sheikh Hamad also shed light on the magnificent religious harmony in the United Arab Emirates, where the followers of various religions lead a peaceful life, enjoying the freedom of belief and practice. He also noted that UAE enacted a series of legislations promoting and protecting freedom of faith and religious harmony.

'UAE believes that the call into the culture of peace, non-violence and peaceful coexistence constitute one of the priorities of our global strategy which functions within the framework of the UN system. This is to ensure protection of our society and territories from violence, extremism and terrorism, and to eliminate chances of clashes and warfare', Sheikh Hamad said. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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