In Muslim-majority UAE, an interfaith beacon is found

Rabbis expect a new interfaith complex will further promote cross-religious dialogue

Though the United Arab Emirates is famously known for its luxurious malls and towering Burj Khalifa skyscraper, a diverse interfaith project may soon become one of the nation’s most notable structures.

The Abrahamic Family House, a religious complex which will house a mosque, a synagogue, and a church, is currently under construction in Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi.

Named after Abraham – the shared patriarch of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam – this historic interfaith complex is the first of its kind in the Muslim-majority UAE, and offers a display of religious unity not often seen in the Middle East.

The structure, designed by Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye OBE, features three houses of worship composed of equal cubic volumes and exterior dimensions to ensure that no one building outweighs another.

Though the complex’s sites share these similar features, each one is completely unique – drawing on a variety of religious motifs to influence the architectural themes within.

The composition of the mosque is intended to evoke the sequences of Islamic worship, the synagogue’s interior draws from the layered leaves of Sukkot palm fronds, and the church uses light and water to pay homage to elements within Christianity.

“The design aims to both meaningfully represent, and support diverse communities… unlocking a contemporary spirit that draws from tradition but looks towards the future – a future defined by acceptance, inclusion, and peace,” the project’s website explained.


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