UAE Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan Highlights Importance of Interfaith Dialogue and Religious Coexistence
Reception on Capitol Hill Celebrates The Abrahamic Family House Initiative in Abu Dhabi
Washington, DC (20 November 2019) – UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan hosted a reception with members of Congress and the interfaith community in Washington, DC to celebrate the recently announced Abrahamic Family House. The project will be an interfaith center in Abu Dhabi featuring a synagogue, church and mosque side-by-side. The mission of the Abrahamic Family House will be to enhance understanding about all faiths and nationalities.
Around 70 guests, including members of Congress, Administration officials, religious leaders, members of the media and think tank analysts, attended the reception on Capitol Hill.
“Coexistence and tolerance for everyone – no matter their nationality, religion or belief – is one of our collective, shared core values,” said Sheikh Abdullah. “We see a positive future, where people from all faiths and backgrounds live together as one.”
Rabbi Bruce Lustig, Senior Rabbi at Washington Hebrew Congregation and a member of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, highlighted the impact of the Abrahamic Family House. According to Rabbi Lustig, the new interfaith center will be a place of learning, dialogue and worship, focused on creating mutual understanding among people of all faiths and belief systems.
“In a fractured world of increased hate speech and acts of hatred the document of Human Fraternity, singed last February by The Grand Imam and the Pope Francis give us hope,” said Rabbi Lustig. “It asks us to remember that we are part of one human family who are all created in the image of God. It asks us to choose love over hate, care over conflict and to choose peace over strife. It reminds us that we have the power to shape our future by how we choose to treat our fellow member of the human family.”
Chaplain of the House of Representatives, Reverend Patrick J. Conroy, provided a blessing in support of coexistence and mutual understanding.
The reception featured a video that highlighted several recent UAE interfaith initiatives, including the historic visit of Pope Francis to Abu Dhabi in February 2019.
During his visit to the UAE, Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayyeb signed the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together. The declaration calls for people from around the world to rediscover and recommit to living out values that support a more peaceful future for all. The signing of this document lead to the formation of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, a group of religious, cultural, and education leaders from across the world who intend to deliver on the aspirations outlined in the document itself. And also inspired the UAE’s commitment to build the Abrahamic Family House, an initiative that the Higher Committee will oversee.
Designed by Sir David Adjaye, the lead designer of Washington’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Abrahamic Family House will be located in the cultural and educational center of the UAE capital.
The UAE is celebrating 2019 as the Year of Tolerance, an occasion to encourage inclusion and celebrate diversity. As Chairman of the Supreme National Committee of the Year of Tolerance, Sheikh Abdullah leads initiatives to expand interfaith dialogue and coexistence. In August, the UAE joined the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, furthering its commitment to mutual understanding and peace.