Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 15 October 2019

Abu Dhabi to host festival to celebrate the Islamic world

The Organisation of Islamic Co-operation Festival will feature a variety of performances and exhibitions that celebrate Islamic history, culture and traditions

A four-day celebration of Islamic history, culture and traditions will be held in Abu Dhabi next week.

The Organisation of Islamic Co-operation Festival, in its second year, will feature a variety of performances, workshops and exhibitions, by participating countries, all with the aim of combating negative perceptions of Islam, hate speech and extremism.

Held under the patronage of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Tolerance, and in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, representatives from more than 15 Muslim-majority countries will gather in the UAE capital from April 24 — 27 to strengthen collaboration and form new, lasting bonds, according to organisers.

Held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, organisers on Tuesday described the festival as a “vehicle to celebrate the underlying positivity of Islam” and demonstrate the work of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation in cultivating cultural diversity through arts and music.

“The festival is a gateway for Muslims around the world to gain invaluable insight into the diversity of their faith through the range of different cultures and traditions of nations within our organisation while remaining true to the religious values of Islam. In addition, it serves as a crucial educative and informative platform for non-Muslims to learn about our faith,” said Mr Youssef Aldobeay, elected assistant secretary general for Political Affairs and OIC general secretariat.

The OIC was founded in 1969, and includes 57 member countries from four continents. It is the second largest international organisation after the United Nations, representing an umbrella of 1.5 billion Muslims. It endeavours to protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world. The festival coincides with the OIC’s 50th anniversary.

“The festival aims to enrich the global awareness of Islamic culture with the participation of many Islamic countries by providing a platform designed to highlight cultures, traditions and values of Islamic civilisation,” said Mohammed Al Shehhi, director of the United Nations Administration at the ministry.

A key feature of the festival will be the Palestine pavilion. Spread over 100 square meters, at the heart of the show, the pavilion will emphasise Palestine’s significance within he Islamic world and its “vital status within Islamic identity” organiser said.

Yet for some, the highlight of the festival will be a performance by award-winning instrumentalist and humanitarian, Sami Yusuf, at Emirates Palace on April 25.

The Organisation of Islamic Co-operation Festival will be held in Hall 7 at Adnec from 2pm to 8pm on April 24, 12pm to 8pm on April 25 and 27, and from 4pm to 10pm on April 26. Entry is free.

Updated: April 16, 2019 09:20 PM