September 13 through October 10, 2012
More than 60 visitors attended the opening in Antwerp of the exhibition "Religious Tolerance: Islam in the Sultanate of Oman."
The exhibition was presented in Dutch, the preferred language in the city of Antwerp. It was hosted by the Antwerp faculty of the Department of Comparative Religion, of Free University of Brussels. The faculty maintains a worldwide network for religious dialogue and religious studies.
Opening the exhibition was one of the mayors of the city of Antwerp, who reported that the city of Antwerp's economic success is only because it is has been open to the world since ancient times. The population is multilingual, accepting of different religions and accustomed to dealing with people from many cultures.
Mohammed Al-Mamari, Advisor to the Minister of Religious Endowments and Religious Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman described the parallels between Belgium and Oman, for example that for many centuries the religiously persecuted of other countries were accepted and assimilated. This is a principle of and basis for religious tolerance.
Religious tolerance and diversity of religions is a major issue both in Antwerp and throughout Belgium. Accordingly, representatives of more than ten religious communities in Antwerp attended the opening including the Catholic Church, which represents the majority of the population in Belgium; Coptic Christians; Jewish rabbis; and representatives of Islamic communities in Antwerp. Representatives of the Catholic Church and of the Ministry of State also spoke at the opening, and the exhibition was even acknowledged by the European Commission, and reviewed by its representatives.
The exhibition in Antwerp was a welcome addition to the development of an interfaith network for religious tolerance, in which the Sultanate of Oman is contributing as one of the Islamic countries.