UAE visit to Archbishop promotes Year of Tolerance

From left to right: Asma Alyammahi (2nd Secretary), Matar Almansoori (Counsellor and Deputy Ambassador) and Magid Alnekhailawi (3rd Secretary). Photo Chris Gordon

A delegation from the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Canberra visited Archbishop Christopher Prowse last week (May 15) as part of their observation of the UAE’s Year of Tolerance.

The delegation, consisting of the Deputy Ambassador of the UAE embassy, Matar Almansoori, second secretary Asma Alyammahi and third secretary Magid Alnekhailawi, spoke with the Archbishop about the focus on respect, diversity and cooperation at the heart of the Year of Tolerance.

“We have been talking together about Pope Francis‘ visit to the United Arab Emirates – he went to Dubai and Abu Dabi in February and there a very important document was declared between the religious leaders and Pope Francis, called `On Human Fraternity,’ ” said Archbishop Christopher.

“And this will become, I predict, a monumental document of inter-religious dialogue between Muslims and Christians. It’s a very important document.

“And so Mr Almansoori and his staff have spoken with me about the year of tolerance in the United Arab Emirates. Mr Almansoori also indicated a readiness by his people to cooperate practically with us on some practical charities, particularly for instance with the homelessness that is so scandalously prevalent in this rich country of Australia.”

Mr Almansoori described the Year of Tolerance as an important part of cooperation between Muslims and Christians.

“This year has been declared in the UAE as the Year of Tolerance, to spread the values of respect and diversity and cooperation with each other, despite our different backgrounds or religious beliefs,” Mr Almansoori said.

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“We value the need to communicate to each other between different communities and different religions.”

Archbishop Christopher, who has been a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Chairman of the Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations, reflected on his involvement in the Arab Catholic Youth Conference in October last year and how impressed the government was to work with.

“Pope Francis himself mentioned how cooperative and helpful the government of the United Arab Emirates was in arranging his visit and providing all sorts of facilities there that helped make a very great and monumental visit happen,” Archbishop Christopher said.

“So let’s join our Muslim friends in this year of tolerance.”



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