UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – The Vatican Vicar of Arabia sees brotherhood as a guide for “lasting peace” also in the Gulf



On Pope Francis and Imam al-Tayeb making another plea, Bishop Hinder looks at the tensions that still inflame the region. Ending conflict remains a ‘long journey’ amid an emerging sense of ‘vulnerability’. The Document on Human Fraternity is an “important point of reference” for those in power.

Abu Dhabi (AsiaNews) – The war in Yemen and other Middle East tensions are a reminder of the “long road” that remains to be traveled to achieve a “lasting peace”, according to Bishop Paul Hinder, vicar of southern Arabia[*] and apostolic administrator sede vacante of northern Arabia[†].

At the same time, we are at great risk of forgetting the “highest principles” while the logic of “economic and political power” prevails, he said, speaking on the occasion of the second International Day United Nations Human Brotherhood, which is being celebrated today.

Unable to hide the feeling of extreme “vulnerability” that permeates even the most important cities of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), threatened by Houthi rockets and drones, the Prelate believes that it is essential “to find a way out of the vicious circle”. of attacks and counter-attacks.

“In this perspective, the Document on Human Fraternity[‡] offers valid guidelines. However, “it is clear that any signs of vulnerability and real dangers have their effects on the economy and tourism”. Fortunately, “people have so far reacted stoically”, convinced that the Emirates will be able to protect their inhabitants.

Noting that the Gospel itself “does not exclude the possibility of conflict,” even among Christians, the Prelate is aware that the document signed by the Pope and the Imam alone cannot stop the violence. “Nevertheless, it remains an important point of reference for policy makers and those in power.”

Today marks the third anniversary of the signing of the historic document which opened new avenues of dialogue and exchange with Muslims, especially Sunnis.

The event is also celebrated at Expo 2020. Currently underway in Dubai, the global event was originally scheduled for October 2020 to April 2021 but was later postponed due to the pandemic.

Today, his agenda includes a meeting – Human Fraternity and the Alliance for Global Tolerance Roundtable – with a video message from Pope Francis and Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb of al-Azhar, part of a four-day series promoted by the leaders of the United Arab Emirates in favor of the values ​​of tolerance and brotherhood at the local and global levels.

“The visit of Pope Francis and the signing of the document on human fraternity with the Imam of al-Azhar are mentioned in almost every speech about the relations between people of different faiths,” Bishop Hinder explained.

That said, while “interest in learning more about the beliefs and lives of others has grown,” in practice it “is more about monitoring what is happening inside our churches ( especially during the pandemic) than to really know what is at the center of our rites”. .”

Due to COVID-19, many activities are still online; for this reason, events like Expo 2020 are important because they provide a forum to keep alive the spirit of “the historic visit of the pope in 2019”.

For the Church of Arabia, the signing of the document is remembered with a “Catholic heart”. More specifically, the highlight of the apostolic journey was the “Eucharistic celebration at the stadium” whose memory “is even more vivid than the signing of the document”.

The document itself retains all its importance. In fact, it was included in the “curriculum” for students “of different faiths” and inspired the establishment of the Abrahamic Family House and the pursuit of interfaith dialogue.

Yesterday’s inauguration of the new Apostolic Nunciature in Abu Dhabi “is also the result of the Pope’s visit”, but face-to-face contacts and meetings with Muslims have been reduced in the past two years due to the pandemic.

[*] united arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen.

[†] Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain.

[‡] Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.


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