The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi launched the initiative as part of the Year of Tolerance, and in cooperation with the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments and various churches in Abu Dhabi.The Mosques Tour Initiative aims to introduce tourists to Islamic history and culture via tours of the emirate's mosques, state news agency WAM reported.
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 Omar Habtoor Al Darei, executive director of Islamic Affairs for the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments.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 tour covers five mosques, including the Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed the First Mosque, 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."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 at 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."He added: "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."