UAE official: "Hagia Sophia should neither be misused nor altered"

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UAE official: "Hagia Sophia should neither be misused nor altered"

arabianbusiness.com and en.abouna.org

Noura Bint Mohamed Al Kaabi, UAE minister of culture and youth, and chairperson of the National Committee for Education, Culture and Science, has called on cultural heritage to be safeguarded in reference to the ancient Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, which is controversially set to open again as a mosque later July 2020.

The UAE official said that cultural heritage is a human legacy that must be preserved.

“It should neither be misused nor altered through change in a way that touches the human essence. Especially for sites that are inscribed under World Heritage by UNESCO. They have exceptional international value, and are the common heritage of all peoples and cultures,” she said.

In a statement published through the state-run Emirates News Agency (WAM), Kaabi said that the change in the status quo of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was done without any regard to the civilizational value of this historical edifice. "It has remained a global landmark with significant cultural legacy. It also served as a bridge connecting different peoples and cementing their bonds," she said.

Kaabi said: “It (Hagia Sophia) is designated as a heritage museum by UNESCO. It is an architectural marvel and is a unique witness to the interaction between Asia and Europe across centuries. It is a symbol of dialogue.”

CHRISTIANITY IN THE UAE

Christians account for 13 per cent of the total population of the United Arab Emirates, according to a ministry report, which collected census data.

The government recognizes various Christian denominations. Christians are free to worship and wear religious clothing, if applicable. The country has Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches along with Oriental Orthodox and Protestant churches. Although Christian women can marry Muslim men freely, marriage between Muslim women and non-Muslim men is forbidden.

There are currently nine churches in the UAE, namely St. Joseph's Cathedral, Abu Dhabi, St. Mary's Catholic Church, Dubai, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Jebel Ali, St. Michael's Catholic Church, Sharjah, St. Mary's Catholic Church, Al Ain, St. Paul's Catholic Church, Musaffah, St. Anthony of Padua Church, Ras Al Khaimah, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, Fujairah, and St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Ruwais,

Sun, 07/12/2020 - 12:21
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