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  • Writer's pictureAbu Dhabi Review

Bringing people and cultures together at Abrahamic Family House on Saadiyat Island

The Abrahamic Family House, a new centre for learning, dialogue and the practice of faith located in the Saadiyat Cultural District in Abu Dhabi, has been officially inaugurated.

Encompassing three separate houses of worship – a mosque, a church, and a synagogue – as well as shared spaces for gathering and dialogue, it will welcome visitors from 1 March 2023.

Rooted in the UAE’s values of bringing people and cultures together, the Abrahamic Family House embodies the diversity of Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE, home to vibrant multicultural communities of various faiths. The project was inspired by the principles in the Document on Human Fraternity, signed by His Holiness Pope Francis and His Eminence Grand Imam Dr Ahmed El-Tayeb in Abu Dhabi in 2019.

At the Abrahamic Family House, visitors are invited to participate in religious services, guided tours, celebrations, and opportunities to explore faith. Each of the dedicated houses of worship, the Eminence Ahmed El-Tayeb Mosque, His Holiness Francis Church, and Moses Ben Maimon Synagogue, has space for observers, and daily guided tours will show visitors features of how the design complements practices and traditions of each faith.

People are welcome to come and practice faith in the three houses of worship from 16 February. Access to the forum and guided tours will be available to visitors from 1 March 2023.

The complex’s central forum functions as a visitor experience centre, where an immersive exhibition will introduce them to the Abrahamic Family House and invite reflection on the three faiths. The space will host discussions, forums, and conferences that promote understanding, dialogue and peaceful coexistence. The shared garden is another space for gathering, learning and conversation for members of diverse faith communities and visitors of all beliefs.

The three houses of worship are of equal stature, share external dimensions, and have been designed by Sir David Adjaye, of Adjaye Associates, to respect the architectural codes and individualism of each faith. Each takes the form of a cube that is thirty metres deep, thirty metres wide, and thirty metres tall.

The mosque, church and synagogue will provide faith communities with an environment of beauty and tranquillity in which to participate in religious services, listen to recitals of holy scripture and prayers, and experience sacred rituals. The Abrahamic Family House will also offer a dynamic series of educational and faith-based programmes and events, as well as initiatives for young people, that promote the exchange of knowledge and interfaith collaboration.