The Abrahamic Family House recently opened in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, as an example of tolerance and work for the peaceful coexistence of the three monotheistic Abrahamic religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
The Abrahamic Family House is a new centre for learning, dialogue and faith practice located in the Saadiyat Cultural District in Abu Dhabi, which was officially opened on 16 February by Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of the UAE, and Nahyan bin Mubarak al-Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence of the Emirati country. It welcomed its first worshippers over the weekend and houses a church, a mosque (Ahmed el-Tayeb Mosque) and a synagogue (Moses Ben Maimon Synagogue).
The aim of the UAE's proposal is to strive for the coexistence of these religions in peace and harmony. However, some critics have sought to tarnish and tarnish its name, all under a campaign of fictitious arguments, according to media outlets such as Al-Ain News.
Al-Ain News pointed in particular to a campaign orchestrated by hostile groups led by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a radical Islamist organisation that is classified as a terrorist organisation by several countries, including Egypt. The declared aim of this Islamist organisation is to inculcate The Quran and Sunnah as the "sole point of reference for ordering the life of the Muslim family, the individual, the community and the state".
This counter-campaign would include untruthful messages, such as that the Abrahamic Family House seeks to establish a new religion by merging the three existing monotheistic Abrahamic religions into a kind of "Abrahamic religion". Abrahamic religions are monotheistic faiths that recognise a spiritual tradition identified with Abraham. A term commonly used to refer collectively to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Sources such as Al-Ain News have reported that these hostile messages allegedly went so far as to claim that the UAE had adopted this new 'Abrahamic religion' as the country's new confession, which would become an attack on Islam itself.
However, the UAE denies these alleged claims, defending the Abrahamic Family House as an institution already in operation that aims to do just the opposite, namely to strengthen Islam while promoting its peaceful and harmonious coexistence with Christianity and Judaism. In this sense, the Abrahamic Family House includes a separate church, mosque and synagogue, and all are free to practice their beliefs, as it enshrines freedom of worship and calls for coexistence between religions rather than their merger.
This religious centre calls for the spread of tolerance and coexistence and the promotion of human brotherhood, and has promoted Quranic competitions in several Emirati cities to encourage young Muslims to memorise the Quran and remember the important figure of the Prophet Muhammad, spreading his values. In fact, the centre has a mosque focused on reinforcing the social role of Islam.
The messages critical of the Abrahamic Family House related to a Saudi fatwa from more than 25 years ago that has now been recovered. In this case, a fatwa related to the call for unity of the three religions: Islam, Judaism and Christianity, dating back more than 25 years, and signed by the Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas headed by Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah bin Baz, who died in 1999, was reportedly actively promoted by various sources and media outlets as a new fatwa issued by Saudi Arabia regarding the Abrahamic Family House. All this in the knowledge that the idea of the Abrahamic Family House did not originally call for the unification of religions, but rather for their peaceful coexistence.
The House of the Abrahamic Family is precisely the opposite, it is a beacon of coexistence, according to its leaders. A centre that promotes human fraternity; and it is precisely Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates where, in February 2019, the famous Document for Human Fraternity was signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb, in the presence of Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the current president of the United Arab Emirates.
This house brings together the three main monotheistic religions under the roof of a single building, crystallising and endorsing one of the primary objectives of the Document for Human Brotherhood. The Emirates' message over the years has been to work for humanity by stressing the importance of coexistence and brotherhood among all, regardless of religions, beliefs, languages and nationalities.
With the opening of the Abrahamic Family House, the UAE has provided the world with a centre for interfaith dialogue and understanding, an inspirational space for education, a beacon for mutual understanding and coexistence among people of faiths, and an oasis that brings everyone together in the pursuit of a future of peace, harmony and love.
The Abrahamic Family House includes a church, a mosque and a synagogue side by side, highlighting the common values between Islam, Christianity and Judaism, while preserving the specificity of each religion, thus presenting a global building. There is no fusion of religions, only respect for all religions and the promotion of understanding and communication between the various religions and civilisations. All this while calling for moderation, excluding no one and rejecting any extremism that leads to radicalism and violence. The clear objective of the Abrahamic Family House, and by extension of the Emirates, is to promote tolerance and human brotherhood through the peaceful coexistence of all. A great example of this is that the Emirati nation is home to more than 200 nationalities of different religious denominations and cultures living peacefully together.