Plans were revealed for the construction of an interfaith complex that will house a church, synagogue, and mosque in the United Arab Emirates as part of an effort to promote religious harmony and bridge adherents of the three Abrahamic religions.
The complex, known as the Abrahamic Family House, will be located on Saadiyat Island near Abu Dhabi.
The project is a result of Roman Catholic Pope Francis’ papal visit to Abu Dhabi in February when the pontiff and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar in Egypt signed a declaration establishing the interfaith Higher Committee of Human Fraternity.
The Abrahamic Family House is the first formal initiative of the higher committee.
Plans by British architect David Adjaye were unveiled during the Celebration of Human Fraternity at a New York City public library on Sept. 20.
In a statement, Adjaye declared that the Abrahamic Family House will be “open to the world.” He expressed hope that it will serve as a space for people across society to “learn and engage in a mission of peaceful coexistence for generations to come.”
“As an architect, I want to create a building that starts to dissolve the notion of hierarchical difference — it should represent universality and totality — something higher that enhances the richness of human life,” Adjaye said.
“We hope we have set out a plan for a beautiful and thought-provoking space that celebrates the three faiths and stimulates dialogue and understanding at a critical time for the world.”
According to Reuters, the synagogue that will be built as part of the interfaith complex will be the first public Jewish house of worship in the UAE even though a small congregation of Jews already meets at a house for worship in Abu Dhabi.
Higher Committee member Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig of Washington Hebrew Congregation said in a statement that the new complex is an “important opportunity for all who believe in the power of faith and humanity.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith