Abu Dhabi Launches Mosques Tour Initiative
As part of the Year of Tolerance and in cooperation with the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has launched its Mosques Tour initiative.
The launch was attended by Father Anderson Thompson of St. Joseph’s Cathedral and Father Fakhro Bishop of St. Anthony’s Cathedral for Coptic Orthodox alongside HE Omar Habtoor Al Darei, Executive Director of Islamic Affairs for the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments. Saeed Rashid Al Saeed, Destination Marketing Director at DCT Abu Dhabi was also in attendance. The tour brought together representatives from the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments, and churches in Abu Dhabi, reflecting the values of tolerance, co-existence, and cooperation.
The first phase of the initiative saw a detailed selection process to identify the most historically significant and iconic mosques in the UAE capital.
The inaugural tour of the initiative included a visit to the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan the Second Mosque in Al Khalidiyah, and the Mariam, Umm Eisa Mosque in Al Mushrif. The tour introduced guests to the etiquette of visiting mosques, as well as providing an introductory overview of the religious and societal role of mosques. During the tour, the efforts made in building and maintaining the structures were highlighted to guests, as well as information on the history of the mosques.
“We are pleased to be cooperating with the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments in launching this unique initiative, which aligns with the goals of the UAE Year of Tolerance,” said Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Acting Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing Sector, DCT Abu Dhabi. “Providing tours of our houses of worship also syncs with our efforts to shed light on the features of Islamic culture and civilisation that characterise Abu Dhabi, which are reflected in the historic mosques built by our ancestors, as well as the contemporary mosques built by the new generation.
“The originality and authenticity of the Emirati capital is reflected in all of the mosques selected, and they will give visitors an opportunity to become acquainted with the true teachings of Islam and educate them on the values that teach us tolerance and noble ethics. As the tour takes place, this initiative will help in identifying the story of each of the mosques, the details of Islamic architecture used and the role played by mosques in Emirati society as a symbol of acceptance, peaceful coexistence, and cooperation,” he added.
The tour takes in five mosques, including the Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed the First Mosque, the Al Kareem Mosque in Al Marina, Al Aziz Mosque on Reem Island, the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan the Second Mosque in Al Khalidiyah, and the Mariam, Umm Eisa Mosque in Al Mushrif.
The initiative’s aim is to introduce tourists to Islamic history and culture, and mosque architecture, as well as highlighting the significance of the decorative art displayed in Islamic architecture, especially when mixed with elements of traditional and contemporary art.