Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth, and Community Development, has stressed that the UAE, under the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has gained worldwide respect as a pioneer in embodying the principles of decent living, coexistence, and mutual respect among people of all religions.
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak made the comments in a statement he gave at the Saint Antony Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Abu Dhabi last night on the occasion of the Coptic Church's Christmas celebrations, in the presence of Dr. Mohammed Matar Al Kaabi, Chairman of the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Awqaf, and Ihab Imam Hamouda, Egyptian Ambassador to the country.
He said, "The UAE is keen to always be faithful and true to the principles of Islam and its timeless teachings of tolerance and mutual respect between different religions and beliefs." In his statement, the Minister also stressed, "It is vital to maintain the values of brotherhood and communication among believers of various religions and to maintain respect for each other's rights and values for the good of everyone." Sheikh Nahyan went on to express his great pride in participating in the Christmas celebrations with the Coptic Church and prayed to Allah for the joyous occasion to bring happiness and goodness, love and peace to the brotherly peoples of the UAE and Egypt and to the Arab world as a whole.
The Minister also praised the deep fraternal relations between the UAE and Egypt and the diligence paid in developing mutually cooperative relations in all fields, stressing that the UAE holds a special affinity for Egypt and its people, its history and culture.
During a Christmas Mass that was held on the occasion, and on behalf of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, 118th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa, Head of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, and Archbishop Dr. Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox Metropolitan Archbishop of Jerusalem and the Near East, Reverend Antonios and Reverend Bishoy from the Church conveyed their congratulations to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Their Highnesses the Members of the Supreme Council and Rulers of the Emirates, His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and to the government and the beloved people of the UAE on the occasion of Prophet Mohammed's birthday, which coincided with the Christmas celebrations.
The church officials also stressed the importance of the noble spiritual and humanitarian values that the Christian and Islamic religions share, which renounce war and division and seek to achieve peace, security and prosperity for people everywhere.