To coincide with the historic visits to the UAE by His Holiness Pope Francis and His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Al Sherif, a new book celebrating the country’s diversity was launched today.
Published by Dubai-based Motivate Publishing and entitled ‘Celebrating Tolerance: Religious Diversity in the United Arab Emirates’, the book was launched at a ceremony at the British Embassy, hosted by British Ambassador Patrick Moody.
In a Foreword to the book, Sheikh Nahyan says that, "Because we live so harmoniously together in the United Arab Emirates, we may suspect that our various religions might all value tolerance. This anthology serves the essential purpose of converting our vague suspicion into fact. That wonderful fact of tolerance deserves the celebration accorded by this splendid book. To ensure that the celebration never ends, we must communicate and protect the fact by always acting in the spirit of the fact. Without our active attention, tolerance can swiftly vanish. Let the essays in this book inspire tolerance in perpetuity."
Introducing the event, Moody quoted Britain’s Queen Elizabeth on what she described as the importance of a "continued focus on patience, friendship, a strong community focus and considering the needs of others."
"As we look for new answers in the modern age," he quoted Queen Elizabeth as saying, "I, for one, prefer the tried and tested recipes, like speaking well of each other and respecting different points of view; coming together to seek out the common ground; and never losing sight of the bigger picture."
He went on to cite a quotation in the book from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, Moody said, had written, "We need to study, teach and practice tolerance and to instill it in our children, both through education and our own example."
"Tolerance is no catchphrase, but a quality we must cherish and practice .it must be woven into the fabric of our society, to safeguard out future and maintain the progress we have made."
Edited by the Reverend Canon Andrew Thompson, Vicar of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Abu Dhabi, ‘Celebrating Tolerance’ is a compendium of the experiences of people from ten various faiths who coexist peacefully in the country. Many are of groups that first arrived in the UAE in the 1960s and 1970s as the country embarked on its programme of rapid development.
Explaining the book, Reverend Thompson, who has also authored ‘Jesus of Arabia’ and ‘Christianity in the UAE’, said that "The UAE has been home to people from diverse faiths. The book aims at celebrating this diversity and building greater understanding amongst communities on different rituals and customs."