November 20, 2018
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, officially launched the inaugural edition of the Interfaith Alliance for Safer Communities: Child Dignity in the Digital World Forum.
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Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior (Photo: AETOSWire)
The two-day assembly is hosted by the UAE on November 19-20 in recognition of the country’s leading role in promoting tolerance and interfaith dialogue.
In his speech at the opening ceremony, His Highness Sheikh Saif said: “We are gathered here today under the umbrella of peace, coexistence and tolerance; an approach that was inspired by the ideology, legacy and directives of the late Sheikh Zayed and the teachings of Islam. This approach is also supported by the UAE’s wise leaders, along with nations and people from around the world, who join efforts to consolidate these morals and uphold the values of justice tolerance and love.”
Sheikh Saif noted that the United Arab Emirates has endeavored to strengthen its cultural and religious partnerships to promote positivity, empathy and kindness for the service of humanity.
The opening ceremony also featured a keynote by Fatima Al Kaabi, known as the country's “youngest inventor” and the voice of children and childhood. Al Kaabi called upon religious communities, scholars and clergy to support and protect innocent and over trusting children from the dangers of the online world.
The Forum’s first day saw a number of high-profile panel discussions pertaining to the risks faced by children in the digital world, as well as the implications of online harassment and sexual abuse on children. Special sessions tackled the role of policymakers in protecting children against digital violence and abuse and the role of religious associations in this regard.
The forum brings together 450 guests including religious leaders, NGOs and heads of industry to discuss ongoing social challenges and develop comprehensive solutions for protecting youth from cybercrime. The Interfaith Alliance for Safer Communities Forum is an expansion of the Child Dignity in the Digital World Congress which was held in October 2017 in the Vatican and resulted in the “Rome Declaration” endorsed by Pope Francis. During the congress, the UAE was identified for its reputation for tolerance, and was consulted with to host an international forum to highlight its commitment to developing interfaith dialogue. These efforts resulted in the formation of the Interfaith Alliance for Safer Communities which will have its first event addressing the issue of child dignity online.
The forum is supported by Al Azhar, and is held in partnership with a number of global entities and organizations including Unicef, The Child Dignity Alliance, Arigatou International, The Global Network of Religions for Children, End Violence Against Children, Religions for Peace International, WePROTECT Global Alliance, The Center for Child Protection of the Pontifical Gregorian University, Al Azhar University, World Vision International, Shanti Ashram and International Justice Mission.