ABU DHABI—After our extraordinary visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain last week, our “Abraham Accords Delegation of Evangelical Business & Media Leaders” has spent the last several days here in the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

In the coming days I’ll be writing about the fascinating meetings we’ve had with senior Emirati officials.

Let me start today with our 90 minute conversation with His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE’s minister of Tolerance and Coexistence.

Minister of what?

Yes, you read that right.

The UAE really does have a “Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence.”

Given the history of radical Islamist terrorism, war and even genocide in the Middle East and North Africa, it’s actually encouraging to me that the Emiratis have appointed a senior-level Cabinet minister to build bridges of cooperation and trust between people of other faiths.

And Sheikh Nahyan is not only the first and only minister of Tolerance in the region, but in the world.


Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE’s minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, meets with Joel C. Rosenberg and an Evangelical delegation, Apr. 26, 2022 (Photo: ALL ARAB NEWS)


I began our conversation by thanking him and his country — as a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen and as an Evangelical follower of Jesus from a Jewish heritage — for signing the Abraham Accords and for asking me to bring this second delegation of Evangelical leaders to the UAE to see how the Accords are being implemented.

I noted that in our previous visit in October 2018, Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed (MBZ) told us he was going to make peace with Israel.

Less than two years later — on August 13, 2020 — MBZ kept his promise and announced the UAE was going to be the first Arab nation in a quarter of a century to normalize relations with the Jewish state.

“If we say something, we mean it,” Sheikh Nahyan told us. “And what we do, we don’t do behind closed doors. We don’t hide our decisions.”

“When we believe in something, we have the courage to act. We have great leadership. “

We asked the sheikh how he would assess the future of the Abraham Accords, especially in light of the threats posed by the Iranian regime, the Muslim Brotherhood and other extremist entities.

“We won’t be threatened. We don’t hide. We believe in human dignity. And believe it was time to make peace with Israel.”

“But making peace requires leadership,” he noted. “And it takes courage to take this forward, to create a better world, to show that we can achieve miracles by talking to each other, by eliminating this artificial mistrust, this ignorance of each other.”


Joel C. Rosenberg presents Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE’s minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, with a copy of his book “Enemies and Allies: An Unforgettable Journey inside the Fast Moving and Immensely Turbulent, Modern Middle East,” Apr. 26, 2022 (Photo: ALL ARAB NEWS)


“All of us [in the UAE] want to have a better world — we want peace,” the sheikh said. “But our crown prince doesn’t only talk about peace, he makes it happen.”

“If we [as Emiratis] hesitated because of opponents and enemies, we would never make progress. We would still be in tents. But we have the courage to take the lead and help change our region.”

“And we believe there are many other good people — like yourself and others — who are not being deterred by these voices of hatred,” the sheikh added. “And we are determined. No one will stop us from building on the Abraham Accords. We are not worried about the enemies of peace, but we will fight against their efforts.”

“We will fight anything which will harm our peace, our security, or interfere in what we do, or misrepresent us and distort our religion.”

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