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Abrahamic Family House: Mosque, church, synagogue to share same space in UAE

Staff Report/New York
Filed on September 22, 2019 | Last updated on September 22, 2019 at 08.43 am

(Supplied)

The Abrahamic Family House will serve as a community for inter-religious dialogue and exchange.

The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity has come together for a global gathering at the New York Public Library in which they shared with stakeholders their mission to progress a culture of mutual respect and dialogue across all backgrounds, beliefs and nationalities.

The new body is empowered to provide guidance and counsel on realizing the goals of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together signed by His Holiness Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, His Eminence Sheikh Ahmed Al Tayeb, in Abu Dhabi, during the Papal visit in February this year.

Following the Higher Committee's inaugural meeting at the Vatican earlier this month, the New York gathering was the second time the Higher Committee has met in two weeks, marking the start of a bold and collaborative journey to explore how people of goodwill across all faiths can create mutual understanding and global peace.


One of the first projects the Higher Committee will help guide is the Abrahamic Family House, to be located on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. A reflection of the Document on Human Fraternity, a church, mosque and synagogue will share a collective space for the first time, serving as a community for inter-religious dialogue and exchange, and nurturing the values of peaceful co-existence and acceptance among different beliefs, nationalities and cultures.

The design of the Abrahamic Family House, by the award-wining and globally-renowned architect, Sir David Adjaye OBE, was unveiled at the New York event.

Reflecting on this historic initiative, His Eminence Elect Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Higher Committee member, said: "This endeavor is a profoundly moving moment for humanity. Although sadly evil, hatred, and division often make news, there is a hidden sea of goodness that is growing and leads us to hope in dialogue, reciprocal knowledge and the possibility of building - together with the followers of other religions and all men and women of good will - a world of fraternity and peace. I would like to thank the UAE for the concrete commitment shown on behalf of human fraternity."

Commenting on the occasion, Judge Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Salam, Higher Committee member and Former Advisor to the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, His Eminence Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, remarked: "The formation of the Committee has come at an important time and has required all peace lovers to unite and join the efforts to spread coexistence, brotherhood, and tolerance throughout the world.

Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig, Senior Rabbi at Washington Hebrew Congregation and a Higher Committee member said: "This is an important opportunity for all who believe in the power of faith and humanity. It will help build bridges between religious leaders and communities as well as foster peace and harmony in an era that is too often defined by difference."

Sir David Adjaye, Founder and Principal of Adjaye Associates, commented: "I believe architecture should work to enshrine the kind of world we want to live in, a world of tolerance, openness, and constant advancement. Architecture and landscape design can interpret the fabric and principles of a place, to advance the conversation, reassess current assumptions about the world, and discover more meaningfully what a place can give back.

The contemporary design was chosen after a rigorous process that included architects of diverse backgrounds and faiths from around the globe.

The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity at work

The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity recently came together for a global gathering at the New York Public Library, in which they shared their mission to create a culture of mutual respect and dialogue across all backgrounds, beliefs and nationalities.

The new body has been formed based on the goals of the historic Document on Human Fraternity, signed by Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Dr Ahmed el-Tayeb, in Abu Dhabi during the papal visit in February this year.

Following the inaugural meeting at the Vatican earlier this month, the New York gathering was the second time the committee has met in two weeks.

The members of the committee include: Cardinal Elect Miguel Àngel Ayuso Guixot, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; Judge Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Salam, former adviser to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar; Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig, senior rabbi at Washington Hebrew Congregation; Monsignor Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, personal secretary of the Holy Father; professor Mohamed Hussein Mahrasawi, president of Al-Azhar University; Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi; Dr Sultan Faisal Al Remeithi, secretary-general of the Muslim Council Of Elders; and Yasser Hareb, an Emirati writer.

Abrahamic Family House:  A symbol of UAE tolerance

>Located on Saadiyat Isand in Abu Dhabi

>The site will have three places of worship, includinga mosque, a church and a synagogue

>It will be open to all

>Within each house, visitors will have the opportunity to observe religious services, listen to holy scriptures, and experience sacred rituals

>A fourth space will serve as a centre for all people to come together as one

>The community will also offer educational and event-based programmes

reporters@khaleejtimes.com

 


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