For the occasion of the visiting of Pope Fancis to Abu Dhabi, the General Secretary of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, Sheikh Ali Al-Qaradaghi, made the following statement:

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We at the International Union for Muslim Scholars encourage all forms of dialogue, friendly visits and communication with the Pope and with religious organizations that represent other faiths. However, the Pope is actually visiting a country that has a well-known record of freedoms oppressed, prisoners of conscience, waging wars against the will of the people in neighbouring countries, supporting bloody military coups in the region and an unfair siege of another neighboring Muslim country despite the close relation on the people’s level.

We are concerned that this visit would be interpreted, at the public level in the Arab and Muslim World, as a message of support to violators of human rights and tyrants in the region, which is not in the benefit of the Catholic Church or religious harmony in the region.

Therefore, we join other pro-human rights voices who called for the Pope to ask the rulers of the UAE to free their political prisoners, stop the destruction and wars, stop supporting ruthless dictators in the region, lift the siege of neighbouring Qatar, and stop intervening in other nations’ affairs when their people simply call for freedom.

Let me end this statement by mentioning that the UAE contradicts itself when it raises a 2019 slogan of a “Year of Tolerance” while it shows no tolerance with its own people who dare to have a different opinion about public affairs, put them in prison, and even ripped some of them off their citizenships. They did not show “tolerance” even towards their guests in the latest football tournament.

Let us also reiterate that the International Union for Muslim Scholars is all for dialogue, communication and peaceful co-existence amongst followers of all religions. This is simply the message of Islam - “a mercy for humankind”.

 

Doha: International Union for Muslim Scholars.

4th Feb. 2019