Archbishop of Canterbury has appreciated UAE’s policy of religious freedom saying the Emirate has protected minority rights by enabling them worship, teaching and express themselves.
Archbishop of Canterbury was speaking in a dialogue on integration, religious freedom and flourishing societies organised by the Muslim Council of Elders in association with Christian leaders from the Anglican Communion.
”I am delighted to be here, and profoundly honoured to have the opportunity to continue the process of relationship and dialogue with Al Azhar and the Muslim Council of Elders that began in 2002, and which has continued since through good times and bad,” said the Archbishop.
”It is fitting too that we meet in a country (UAE) which has taken practical steps to enable religious minorities to meet, teach, worship and express themselves. It shows a confidence in granting freedom, and a self confidence which is fitting and proper. We can only be grateful for the clear thinking expressed here. This freedom cannot be taken for granted in a world currently beset by a crisis of confidence in the rights it pledged itself to uphold in the aftermath of the Second World War,” he further added.
He said, the world owes a lot to UAE’s policies, and described the Marrakesh Declaration on the protection of Minorities in Muslim majority lands, as a major step in this regard.
“These relationships and declarations must always be upheld and their spirit followed through, because they are good, and because of our deep respect for those who have gone before us,” he told.
”Within the United Kingdom, Christians and Muslims have worked together on a government funded initiative, run by the Church of England, called Near Neighbours which has catalysed hundreds of grassroots socially transformative projects. We have also worked together to provide a clear moral voice on political and legislative decision-making,” he further added.
He said, the Church of England is at the forefront of advocating the rights of Muslim communities to establish schools and mosques across the country. We have established and participated in faiths forums where the collective voice of faith communities in a largely secular society, can be heard more clearly. It is a cause for celebration that faith communities play such a vibrant role in every strata of British life and society.
Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Speaker of the Federal National Council, Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif and President of the Muslims Council of Elders, Dr. Ali Al Nuaimi, Secretary-General of the Council, Dr. Mohammed Matar Al Kaabi, Chairman of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments were also present.