In a first of its kind initiative aimed at bolstering friendship, brotherhood and love relationships with the government and the business community, Christian leaders hosted a reception at Atlantis Hotel in Dubai on Monday evening.
The event was also held in recognition of the unwavering support that churches receive from the UAE government and was also to extend greetings to UAE officials on the occasion of Eid Al Fitr and to build bridges of love and respect.
Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of Foreign Trade, stressed the importance of focusing on beliefs in common and avoiding difference to live in harmony and understanding.
“The late Sheikh Zayed and the late Sheikh Rashid were committed to building a community of understanding and a community that emphasizes harmony and co-existence. Such tolerance is not new in the Emirati community, we had Christian missionaries since more than 50 years ago. They had lived among us with all respect and understanding,” she noted.
Christian leaders united in conveying the message of love, respect and gratitude to the UAE community and in a warm and brotherly atmosphere they exchanged views and enhanced communication channels for further cooperation.
Attending were Father Stephen Wright, Chairman of Jebel Ali Church Complex and Chaplain of the Anglican Church; Pastor Onsy Albert, Head of the Arab Evangelical Church in Dubai and Northern Emirates; Father Mina Hanna, Head of Coptic Orthodox Church; Pastor John Folmar, Senior Pastor of the United Christian Church of Dubai; Father Barnaba Misses, Head of Greek Orthodox Church; Father Joji Plamparambil, Head of Catholic Church of Dubai and Father Boby G Varghese Head of the Syrian Orthodox Church.
Pastor John Folmar extended his gratitude for the support of the government and the freedom that prevails in the UAE. “I would like to thank you for your generous support and care here in the UAE. We have had the freedom to worship God and honour the Almighty in this land.”
Pastor Onsy Albert stressed the importance of peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Christians and attributed that to the wise leadership of the UAE.
“Here in the Emirates we have a peaceful co-existence which is such a blessing. This city is a testimony to the world that the monotheistic faiths can and do live in peace, side by side. We hope the Christian community will continue to be a blessing to this country as we work together in peace, harmony and justice,” he said.
Paster Albert, announced the launch of ‘Dubai Prays’ campaign with the aim of praying for the leaders of the UAE to be given heavenly wisdom and guidance for the welfare of the nation. “The campaign is an in implementation of the command in the Holy Book that came in verses: First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.”
The prayers will be held on Friday, December 2 and all are invited to attend and participate, he added.
Dr Luai Belhol, Director of Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department stressed the importance of freedom of worship as such would enable people from the different communities to enjoy peace and comfort which help are important element for the prevail of safety, security and sincerity in work.
Mementos were presented to Sheikha Lubna, Dr Belhol, Ahmad Abdullah from Islamic Affairs and Charitable Works, Dr Salem Abdul Rahman Al Darmaki, Acting Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health, Brigadier Mohammed Al Qaisi from Dubai Police and Muhab Nasr, the Egyptian Consul General.