Thomas Schirrmacher Speaks at the 8th “Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies” in Abu Dhabi [December 2021]

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Speaking to Grand Muftis or Ministers of Religion of around 40 Islamic countries plus many other Muslim leaders attending the conference topic „Inclusive Citizenship“, Thomas Schirrmacher urged them in his speech in the final session, to respect the God given rights of Christians and all citizens. Equal citizenship, he said, never should be seen as a secular idea imposed on religious people, but it has as much origins in faith in God. He quoted the first sentence of the U. S. Declaration of Independence stating, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Schirrmacher pointed to the fact, that the United States has not always lived up to those standards. African Americans have been held as slaves. Cultural and religious freedoms have been restricted. “Yet the message of the Declaration remains self-evident and true for all who will open their hearts to it. God created us as human beings in a wonderful way, not to live like lone rangers but in solidarity with our families and communities, with all races and peoples around us, and especially with the poor, underprivileged and enslaved. This solidarity calls us to do all we can to protect the vast majority of peaceful citizens of minority faith and clearly to distinguish them from the small number of religious extremists who misuse the name of God or religion and kill those with whom they have theological disagreements, even within their own faith tradition.“ Finally Schirrmacher added: Eventually: „When we work hand in hand against extremists in both our faith traditions and in favor of the common good of our societies, we do not minimize our truth claims. Rather, we are each following our truth claims, which include the belief that God wants peace and justice for all. God’s truth will prevail in the end, and we should not act as if discussing what we believe in depth and in the public square might endanger this.”

Special newspaper edition on the event

Thomas Schirrmacher has 23 personal encouters with Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders in Abu Dhabi
The Secretary General of WEA spoke with the following participants in private:

MUSLIMS
HE Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, President of the Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace & Chairman of the United Arab Emirates Fatwa Council, UAE

H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Abdul Karim Al Issa, Secretary General of the Muslim World League, Saudi Arabia

H.E. Sheikh Noor ul-Haq Qadri, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Alliance, Republic of Pakistan
His Eminence Dr. Shawky Ibrahim Allam, Grand Mufti of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Egypt

H.E. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence of the United Arab Emirates, UAE

H.E. Shama bin Suhail Al Mazroui, Minister of Youth of the United Arab Emirates, UAE

H.E. Maryam Bint Mohammed Al Muhairi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, UAE

Prof. Azza Karam, Secretary-General, Religions for Peace, USA.

Shaykh Dr. Mustafa Ceric, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace, Former Mufti of Bosnia, Bosnia

Sheikh Kamel Samia Allah, Mufti of the Republic of Tatarstan

H.E. Faisal Bin Abdulrahman Bin Muaamar, Secretary General, KAICIID, KSA

JEWS
Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand, The International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations, UK

Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community of the UAE

Dr. Ari Gordon, Director of Muslim-Jewish Relations for American Jewish Committee

Rabbi David Saperstein, Honorary Director of the Center for Religious Action of Reform Judaism, Former Ambassador for Religious Freedoms at the U.S. State Department, USA.

CHRISTIANS
H.E. Fiona Bruce MP, UK Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, UK.

Rev Dr. Richard Sudworth, National Interreligious Affairs Advisor for the Church of England, UK

Marshall Breger, Professor of Law at the Catholic University Law School, Washington DC ,USA.

Dr. Chris Seiple, President Emeritus of the Institute for Global Engagement, USA

H.E. Dr. Katherine Marshall, Senior Fellow, Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, USA

Dr. Knox Thames, Senior Visiting Expert, USIP, Senior Fellow, Institute for Global Engagement, USA
His Grace Archbishop Angaelos, Archbishop of the Coptic Church, London, UK.

H.E. Timo Heino Ambassador Cultural and Religious dialogue, Centre for Peace Mediation Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland