Wednesday, March 22nd | 29 Adar 5783

March 15, 2023 3:48 pm

UAE, ADL Launch Center for Regional Coexistence


avatar by Andrew Bernard

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and Manara Center Chairman Dr. Ali Al Nuami (Photo: ADL)

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday announced the formation of a joint center for religious tolerance and regional coexistence in Abu Dhabi.

The Manara Center, from the Arabic word for “source of light,” will support the UAE’s Year of Tolerance initiative and the Abrahamic Family House, a religious complex in Abu Dhabi that includes a mosque, a church, and a synagogue.

The synagogue held its first Shabbat services on Feb. 17 while the complex as a whole opened to the public on March 1. Designed by award winning Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye, the Abrahamic Family House “captures the values shared between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and serves as a powerful platform for inspiring and nurturing understanding and acceptance between people of goodwill,” according to its website.

The Manara Center announcement notes that the ADL’s role as a partner with the center will be to support educational programming, including promoting coexistence in universities in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

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“ADL brings 100 years of expertise in combating the roots of antisemitism and hate of all forms,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “We are honored for ADL to be the key player in providing educational programming for this incredible effort. The Manara Center is a continuation of the progress towards peace and co-existence in the Middle East, building on the historic achievements in the region and we look forward to continuing our work to bring people together in innovative ways in the years to come.”

The creation of the organization is the latest example of UAE outreach to the Jewish community following the Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between the UAE and Israel. Manara Center Chairman Dr. Ali Al Nuaimi said that its creation would benefit the entire region.

“We are delighted to partner with ADL, one of the world’s best organizations to promote peace, dispel stereotypes, and bring people from all backgrounds together,” Al Nuaimi said.

The center’s first educational programs are set to launch in August 2023.

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