ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Oct. 30, 2018 -- This week, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins was a member of a delegation of U.S. evangelical leaders that traveled to Abu Dhabi for meetings with the UAE’s leadership including a two hour meeting with his Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The delegation learned about the country’s efforts to promote regional peace, freedom of worship, tolerance, inclusion and moderation. Also discussed were the threats posed by Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The delegation, which was headed by author and Middle East expert, Joel Rosenberg, also met with senior UAE government officials including his Highness Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and brother to the Crown Prince; His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of State for Tolerance; His Excellency Maqsoud Kruse, Executive Director Hedayah; and officials from the Sawab Center, a joint initiative between the governments of the UAE and U.S. in support of the Global Coalition against ISIS.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement:
“The UAE is aggressively working to combat extremism in the Middle East and beyond. Their leadership is encouraging.
“They have an appreciation for religious freedom that is rare in this region. Under the Crown Prince’s leadership, the UAE is a more tolerant nation, where Christians are allowed to worship freely. I saw firsthand how this freedom of worship is boosting the economy and security of the nation.
" I am greatly inspired by the powerful faith and determination of Christians in the UAE who have established a remarkable 700 Christian churches and ministries throughout the country. Observing the security and freedom of worship that minority faiths have in the UAE gives me hope for greater expansion of religious freedom in the UAE and for persecuted religious minorities across the Middle East. The UAE is pursuing a path of religious tolerance and peace that I pray other countries in the region would follow.
“Not too far away, in Iraq and Syria, religious freedom has taken a horrible toll in recent years. While the United States advocates for this human right worldwide, much of our focus has been absorbed in recent years by the Middle East, where both Democratic and Republican administrations in the United States have recognized a genocide is occurring against Christians, Yezidis, and others at the hands of ISIS.
“And we must not forget that as Christians here in America we must not only pray for and act on behalf of our brothers and sister in Christ who are being persecuted for their faith, we must exercise and defend our religious freedom at home as well,” concluded Perkins.