ASIA/ARAB EMIRATES - Procedures have begun to authorize the construction of 17 Christian places of worship

Thursday, 27 June 2019 dialogue   middle east   islam

Abu Dhabi (Agenzia Fides) - There are 19 non-Muslim places of worship for communities residing in Abu Dhabi for over 33 years, for which authorization procedures are underway, according to the rules of the Emirate. This was revealed by Sultan Alzaheri, executive director of the community development department in Abu Dhabi, at a press conference organized by the department in recent days.
Among the 19 places of worship under authorization, 17 will be churches and chapels available to local Christian communities, while one temple will be dedicated to the Hindu community and another to the Sikhs. In line with the wishes of the late Sheikh Zayed Bun Sultan Al Nahian, known for his sensitivity to the issue of interreligious coexistence, various meetings were organized with the clergy and representatives of the different faith communities to define the measures and procedures most suitable to guarantee the granting of licenses for the construction of places of worship where to practice one's own religious rites and liturgies. Alzaheri added that the department is working to define the legal protocols that regulate the establishment and organization of all places of worship in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, according to the standards adopted by the department, in line with the national legal system inspired by Islamic law.
The announcement released by Sultan Alzaheri comes after the reopening of the Christian archaeological site of the island of Sir Bani Yas (see Fides, 14/6/2019), as a further expression of the desire to favor the harmonious coexistence of religious communities in the Arab Emirates States. In Abu Dhabi, on February 4th, Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmad al Tayyeb, Grand Imam of al Azhar, signed the Document on human brotherhood for world peace and common coexistence (PR) (Agenzia Fides, 27/6/2019)