Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

Chairman of UAE Fatwa Council meets Pope Francis in the Vatican City

A meeting of Abrahamic religions condemned euthanasia and assisted suicide

Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, chairman of the UAE Fatwa Council, met Pope Francis in the Vatican City. Courtesy Wam
Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, chairman of the UAE Fatwa Council, met Pope Francis in the Vatican City. Courtesy Wam

Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, chairman of the UAE Fatwa Council, met Pope Francis in the Vatican City as religious figures across Islam, Christianity and Judaism came together to speak out against euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Sheikh Abdullah said the gathering of Abrahamic monotheistic religions - representing the three faiths - at the Apostolic Palace was an opportunity to assert 'core values'.

The religious leaders called for palliative care to be encouraged and the 'inalienable value of human life' to be respected during the meeting on Monday.

Representatives of the Abrahamic religions signed a pledge outlining their unified stance on end-of-life issues.

"We oppose any form of euthanasia – that is the direct, deliberate and intentional act of taking life – as well as physician-assisted suicide – that is the direct, deliberate and intentional support of committing suicide – because they fundamentally contradict the inalienable value of human life, and therefore are inherently and consequentially morally and religiously wrong, and should be forbidden without exceptions," read the signed statement.

During an address, Sheikh Abdullah said the UAE strives to uphold the common beliefs of the Abrahamic family of religions.

"Our meeting today represents a new step in the course of joint religious action. It is the first time heavenly religions have come together to assert their agreement on core values and assets," he said.

He said the efforts were in line with the goals of the UAE's Year of Tolerance.

Sheikh Abdullah conveyed the greetings of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, to the pontiff during their meeting.

Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, has boosted ties with the Muslim faith in recent years.

In February, he paid a landmark visit to the UAE alongside the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Dr Ahmed Al Tayeb.

During their milestone tour, the two revered figures in the Catholic and Muslim faiths launched the Human Fraternity Document, a blueprint to help bring about inter-religious harmony and spread a vital message of peace.

It was also announced that a mosque, church and syangogue were to be built in Abu Dhabi to symbolise the growing ties between the religions in the UAE.

The Abrahamic Family House - designed by renowned British architect David Adjaye - is to built on Saadiyat Island.

Islam, Christianity and Judaism are the three main Abrahamic religions because Abraham – or Ibrahim – is important to them all. Adherents consider him an important prophet or father figure.

Updated: October 29, 2019 08:46 PM

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