The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has unveiled its brand-new Mosques Tour initiative, developed in cooperation with the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments.
The launch of this new experience, which complements the Year of Tolerance, was attended by Father Anderson Thompson of St. Joseph’s Cathedral and Father Fakhro Bishop of St. Anthony’s Cathedral for Coptic Orthodox, alongside executive director of Islamic affairs, General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, HE Omar Habtoor Al Darei and destination marketing director, DCT Abu Dhabi, Saeed Rashid Al Saeed.
The very first tour of this kind entailed a visit to the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan the Second Mosque in Al Khalidiyah and the Mariam, Umm Eisa Mosque in Al Mushrif. The experience enlightened guests on the etiquette of mosques and provided an introductory overview of the religious and societal role of mosques.
Acting executive director of tourism and marketing sector, DCT Abu Dhabi, Ali Hassan Al Shaiba enthused on the initiative: “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. 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 concluded.
The Mosques Tour will take tourists to 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 has been developed to familiarise tourists with Islamic history and culture, as well as mosque architecture, and sheds light on the significance of the decorative art displayed in Islamic architecture.