Anglican clergy from Jebel Ali and Abu Dhabi accompanied the United Arab Emirates’ minister for tolerance at an international conference discussing religious tolerance in the Middle East. The Athens International Conference on Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East bought together Christian, Muslim and Jewish representatives in the Middle East to the Greek capital for the second-such conference in two years.
“With the need for tolerance and peaceful co-existence remaining of immediate pressing concern – as violence, intolerance, religious fanaticism and radicalisation continue to afflict a large portion of the Middle East – the second International Conference . . . aspires to move ahead to the strengthening of a dialogue framework that promotes rapprochement, networking, mutual respect and peaceful co-existence among the different religious and cultural communities of the region,” the Greek foreign ministry said.
The UAE delegation at the conference was headed by the country’s new minister for tolerance, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, and included the Revd Tim Heaney of Christ Church, Jebel Ali, and Canon Andy Thompson of St Andrew’s Church, Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Nahyan gave the keynote address at the conference, which was also addressed by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos. Delegates from 34 countries across the Middle East and the Mediterranean took part, along with Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious leaders.