Mohammed Abdullah Al Shamsi, UAE Consul-General in Barcelona, accompanied by Archbishop Juan Jose Omella of Barcelona, planted a Ghaf tree on the grounds of the Cathedral of Barcelona on the occasion of the International Day for Tolerance.
In his speech, Al Shamsi highlighted the UAE's leading local, regional and international role in solidifying the values of tolerance and openness to cultures and peoples, as well as its active role in promoting respect, rejecting extremism, and accepting others.
He then pointed out that the UAE declared 2019 as the Year of Tolerance in reflection of its position as a bridge of communication and coexistence since its establishment.
Al Shamsi noted that the UAE is home to over 200 nationalities who enjoy a dignified lifestyle, and its laws guarantee justice, respect and equality, and criminalise hate speech, fanaticism, and divisiveness.
"Tolerance in the UAE is not simply a word we repeat, but we live it in our reality, reflecting the approach adopted by the country since its foundation and distinguishing every aspect of our lives and our public policy. We are proud to be one of the most diverse countries in the world, and our success highlights our openness and acceptance of others," Al Shamsi said.
Al Shamsi then explained the UAE's efforts to uphold the policies of tolerance, religious freedom, and anti-discrimination, inspired by the vision of the nation's Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, while highlighting the importance of the meeting between Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, and Dr. Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, in Abu Dhabi, where both parties signed the Declaration of Human Fraternity for World Peace and Coexistence.
Cardinal Omella highlighted the importance of the document's signing, stressing that it is sends a humanitarian message of tolerance and support that will make the region and the world more peaceful. He continued by praising the UAE's efforts to promote peace and spread the principles of brotherhood and coexistence worldwide.
The event was attended by representatives of the Spanish government, the local government of Barcelona, and various religious communities, along with members of the consular corps and several media and public figures.
The Cathedral of Barcelona is one of the most important Gothic churches in Spain, dating back to 1295. It is visited by approximately three million people annually.
Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs