ABU DHABI // Pope Francis has been given an official invite to visit the UAE. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance, handed over the invite from President Sheikh Khalifa as she headed a delegation visiting the Vatican.
Sheikha Lubna said the invitation would further promote the culture of dialogue, with a theme that all are bound by tolerance, coexistence and respect for values, reported state news agency Wam.
She referred to the vital role of the UAE government, led by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, to establish tolerance, friendship, cooperation and love.
She said that the government took practical initiatives to make the UAE “an incubator for peace and the cradle of dialogue, understanding, coexistence and harmony”.
“This is demonstrated by the coexistence of more than 200 nationalities in the UAE in security, peace and prosperity,” she said.
Sheikha Lubna also noted the interest and keenness of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, in promoting tolerance and dialogue through global initiatives, such as the Hedayah Excellence Centre, which works to counter violent extremism.
She expressed her satisfaction at last month’s visit by Dr Ahmed El Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, to the Vatican, where he discussed the formation of an interfaith dialogue centre with the Pope.
The UAE delegation included Dr Hessa Abdullah Al Otaiba, UAE ambassador to Spain and non-resident ambassador to the Vatican City, Dr Farouk Hammada, the religious adviser at the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Court, The Reverend Canon Andy Thompson, the chaplain of St Andrew’s Anglican Church, and Yousef Al Nuaimi of the Minister of State for Tolerance’s office.