Pope visits UAE

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(Abu Dhabi) – Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, has said that the forthcoming visit of His Holiness Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, and of His Eminence, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Dr. Ahmed Al Tayeb, is “an important event that highlights the values of peace and progress that have been an important part of the UAE’s development since its inception.”

These comments were made in his speech today during the launch of the ‘Zayed Tolerance Pledge’ by the Office of Education Affairs at the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi in honour of the historic visit of Pope Francis and Grand Imam of Al Azhar to the UAE.

Held at the Mubadala Arena, Zayed Sports City, in cooperation with the ‘Human Fraternity Meeting’, the event saw the attendance of 2,500 students from various schools across the country who made a pledge to uphold the noble principles of the Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The students in a collective loud voice pledged to: Uphold the duty of tolerance, to take a firm stance against hate and injustice, to respect and accept people whose abilities, beliefs and culture are different from their own, to wish for others what they wish for themselves, to live in harmony with their community, to always be open to dialogue and forgiveness, to do their part to create peace for all, to exercise benevolence and choose kindness in all their dealings with their communities, and to always stand up for Zayed’s values for tolerance and human fraternity.

Expressing his delight at seeing many happy faces gathering together today to take the pledge, Sheikh Nahyan addressed the students and said, “By reading the ‘Zayed Tolerance Pledge’, you are reminding yourselves to keep committing to tolerance and its virtues… You are the future of our world. You represent our hopes and aspirations for a peaceful and prosperous future,” he added.

He continued, “Our nation’s founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, was a wise, courageous and generous leader who believed passionately in tolerance,” adding that he understood well that in order for people to live together in peace and security they must get to know one other, to respect each other, and recognise that diversity and difference are common human traits.

Pointing out to the visit of Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed Al Tayeb, the Minister of Tolerance said, “You read the ‘Zayed Tolerance Pledge’ today in celebration of the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis and of His Eminence, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Sheikh Ahmad Al Tayeb, and they both are global symbols of peace, tolerance and brotherhood. They are both welcome here because our heritage and our values, emphasised by Sheikh Zayed, empower us to respect diversity and welcome people of all cultures and religions.”

By taking the pledge, the students demonstrated their commitment to embrace tolerance as a way of life, making it a personal duty to create a more accepting environment in their society.