The United Arab Emirates’ Jewish community has welcomed the “very special” opening of Abu Dhabi’s Abrahamic Family House, an interfaith compound that houses a mosque, church, and synagogue.
The Abrahamic Family House serves as a community for inter-religious dialogue and exchange, nurturing the values of peaceful co-existence and acceptance among different beliefs, nationalities and cultures.
UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed on Thursday said the establishment of the Abrahamic Family House, on Saadiyat Island, was in line with the nation’s celebration of diversity and tolerance.
“The UAE has a proud history of people from diverse communities working together to create new possibilities,” wrote Sheikh Mohamed on Twitter.
“As the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi is inaugurated, we remain committed to harnessing the power of mutual respect, understanding and diversity to achieve shared progress.”
The Association of Gulf Jewish Communities, the umbrella organization for the Jewish communities in the GCC countries, said the opening of the multi-faith center was an historic milestone.
“The AGJC lauds the Emirati government on the opening of The Abrahamic Family House,” it said, in a statement shared with Al Arabiya English. “We are particularly excited to see another synagogue built in the GCC.”
“There is something very special about a synagogue being built in a Muslim country and it sends a very strong message to other countries where Jewish people live in fear of being attacked for their beliefs.”
In many Western countries, antisemitism is at an all-time high, it said.
“The opening of the Moses Ben Maimon Synagogue in the Abrahamic Family House sends a powerful message that the leadership is not only ensuring our safety but encouraging our practice by building this beautiful synagogue for us to use.”
“In a world where people are being attacked for their religious beliefs, the UAE – and our region more broadly – are a beacon of light.”
On Friday, Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, said the religious gathering place “embodies the UAE’s values of mutual respect and peaceful co-existence”.
Sheikh Saif and Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, officially inaugurated the new faith center on Thursday.