H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, said today that the historic visit of His Holiness Pope Francis, the first by a Catholic Pope to the UAE and the Arabian Peninsula, and his meeting with the Grand Imam Dr. Ahmed el-Tayeb, Imam of Al Azhar, will strongly contribute to strengthening the values and practices of tolerance as practiced by our country, whose people live in social harmony, peaceful coexistence, and culture dialogue.
He said that the visit will highlight the stature occupied by the UAE amongst those around the world who are striving to spread noble humanitarian values, extending the bridges of human fraternity, deepening the peace and giving-practices, and accepting others in the region and the world.
The full text of his statement reads as follows: We are pleased and honoured in the UAE, the land of tolerance and moderation, to welcome His Holiness Pope Francis, Pope of the Catholic Church, who is hosted by our country, coinciding with the "Year of Tolerance", which was announced and called for by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
This is a year during which our country seeks to transmit a clear message to the world, saying: "We in the UAE, in which 200 nationalities of different races live, believe that humans from different cultures, religions and races are capable of coexisting together in fraternity and harmony, if they are committed to moderation as a course, and fairness as a way of behaviour. And they are all moral, behavioural rules established by our Islamic religion, and confirmed by international charters and treaties. Emiratis have taken them as a lifestyle and have lived them as part of our civilisational diversity, passing them down through the generations as coexistence, tolerance and moderation. And since the establishment of the country in 1971, the Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his brothers, have adopted these values and moral rules as constitutional pillars, a country’s vision, a ruling system, a legislative frame, and a course of treatment."
This historic visit, the first for the Pope of the Catholic Church to the Arabian Peninsula, which will take place with the attendance of the Grand Imam Dr. Ahmed el-Tayeb, Imam of Al Azhar, will strongly contribute to strengthening the values and practices of tolerance, which are lived by our country as social harmony, peaceful coexistence and a dialogue of cultures.
We are pleased that this exceptional visit is coinciding with the "Global Conference of Human Fraternity" organised by the Muslim Council of Elders and hosted by Abu Dhabi for two days, with the participation of religious leaders and intellectual and media figures from the different continents of the world, who have all agreed to confront ideological extremism and strengthen the understanding and human relations between the people of religions and beliefs.
We pray to God to keep our country and make it always loyal to its principles, keen on its values, defending the rights of humans in coexistence, in security, peace and fraternity.