Entities to collaborate to provide tours of Abu Dhabi's historic mosques
Abu Dhabi, 19 January 2019: To promote cultural tourism in Abu Dhabi and showcase Islamic heritage and Abu Dhabi's mosques and their stages of development and growth to tourists, the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has teamed up with the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (Awqaf) to organise tours of historic and iconic mosques in the emirate.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two government entities to provide the immersive experiences to tourists and residents alike will also serve to strengthen the cultural exchange between the two partners.
The agreement was signed by H.E. Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, and H.E. Mohammed Saeed Al Neyadi, Director General of Awqaf.
Under the Memorandum of Understanding, DCT Abu Dhabi and Awqaf will work together to determine appropriate times for tours at selected mosques on Abu Dhabi island as identified by the Authority, namely, Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed the First Mosque, Mariam Umm Eisa Mosque, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan the Second Mosque, Al Radwan Mosque, Al Aziz Mosque and Al Kareem Mosque. The agreement also includes the provision of leaflets covering mosques and Islamic culture, the training of tour guides to support the programme and the establishment of a mechanism for booking tours through DCT Abu Dhabi's electronic platforms.
The two parties will also cooperate to appoint Imams and Muezzins for mosques in Al-Ain, namely, Al Khamisani Mosque, Al Jahili Mosque, Al Muwaiji Mosque and Al Mutawa Mosque, as well as the three mosques on Dalma Island. The cooperation also extends to periodic maintenance for historic mosques.
DCT Abu Dhabi and Awqaf will also cooperate on the marketing of books promoting Islamic culture, which have been published by DCT Abu Dhabi, and also work together to promote ethics and tolerance in the community and support the culture of Waqf and reading.
Under the agreement, a selection of DCT Abu Dhabi's books will be presented as gifts for the Authority's VIP guests, while DCT Abu Dhabi will display Awqaf's books and publications during the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair and offer them at all Dar Al Kutub's public libraries across the emirate.
'The Memorandum of Understanding with the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments strengthens our efforts in the field of tourism promotion and extends it to cover the cultural and intellectual elements at the Emirate of Abu Dhabi,” said HE Ghobash. “The visit of tourists to our iconic mosques will enable them to understand the essence of our religion and its values of tolerance and good morals. It is also a step to explore the architectural diversity of our mosques, including the historic architecture associated with ancient periods. The emirate of Abu Dhabi has an interesting urban landscape, combining several architectural styles, including the traditional and the contemporary.”
The MoU will also see the two entities cooperate to identify and regulate the registration of historic and modern heritage mosques, protect modern heritage mosques and, if a heritage mosque is structurally unsound and can be conserved, Awqaf will identify donors who will support maintenance, conservation, and rehabilitation in accordance with DCT Abu Dhabi's policies.
DCT Abu Dhabi will also cooperate with Awqaf to protect and reuse Eid prayer grounds and to develop architectural guidelines for new mosques, particularly in the buffer zones of the Al Ain World Heritage Site.
HE Al Neyadi, said that Awqaf is keenly interested in establishing channels of communication with an array of the country's institutions and building bridges of cooperation in a way that helps serve shared goals, achieve excellence and development and fulfil the aspirations of the UAE's wise leadership.
He underscored the UAE leadership's unwavering support that helps push the wheel of accomplishments and progress forward so that the country can aspire to lead the world.
HE Al Neyadi also said that the UAE had become one of the most developed countries in a wide range of fields and a popular travel destination for tourists and visitors from all corners of the globe to come to experience the country's development, civilisation and authentic heritage.
He ensured that the MoU is conducive to Awqaf's interests in promoting cultural tourism and that tourists get to know Abu Dhabi's history, Islamic culture and historic mosques as well as the architecture of such mosques, which combine decorative arts and Islamic architecture.
HE Al Neyadi added that this reveals the cooperation and harmony sought by all segments of society who show a keen interest in building such mosques in the belief that they play a significant role in promoting co-existence, tolerance and cooperation.
Awqaf's Director General concluded that the great care that mosques and historical monuments receive in the emirate in terms of renovation shows continuity of development and progress while emphasising the necessity to maintain values and heritage.
A joint committee was formed to follow up the implementation of the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding, which came into effect immediately. DCT Abu Dhabi will announce the timings of tours of the mosques soon.