cairo – Randa Refaat
The Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders, Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, and Her Excellency Afra Al Sabri, the Director General of the UAE Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence, met with the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Duarte Pacheco. The meeting discussed ways to enhance mutual cooperation and mechanisms to address flagrant violations against religious sanctities, promote tolerance, respect, and acceptance of others.During the meeting held at the headquarters of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva, the Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders emphasized the importance of enacting binding international legislation that criminalizes religious defamation and the desecration of sacred scriptures. He also highlighted the significance of joint efforts to confront all forms of bigotry, hatred, and religious discrimination. Abdelsalam further stressed that freedom of belief is a vital factor underpinning human rights and despite that, insulting sacred scriptures cannot be considered within the realm of freedom of expression.For her part, Her Excellency Afra Al Sabri affirmed that the United Arab Emirates spares no effort in promoting the values of dialogue, tolerance, and coexistence, as well as emphasizing the importance of not infringing upon or insulting the beliefs and religious sanctities of others. She added that the UAE serves as a pioneering model of coexistence in today’s world, where over two hundred nationalities live together in harmony and peace.For his part, the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union strongly condemned all forms of religious defamation, expressing the Union’s support for efforts aimed at preventing such acts and insulting sacred scriptures. He expanded that the Inter-Parliamentary Union is actively taking practical steps to address these violations against religions, symbols, and religious sanctities.Pacheco also commended the efforts of the Muslim Council of Elders in promoting values of dialogue, peace, and coexistence, as well as their project against religious discrimination. He expressed his appreciation for the efforts of the UAE’s Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence, led by His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan in promoting the values of tolerance, coexistence, peace, and human fraternity. Pacheco noted that he regarded the UAE as an exemplary model of coexistence among followers of different religions and beliefs.