96: Jonny goes to the UAE: Loay Alshareef's vision for reconciliation between Jews and Muslims


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What do you know about the United Arab Emirates? Want to know more of Israel’s newest and perhaps most important partner in peace? I’ve just returned from my first ever trip to an Arab nation. I went to the capital, Abu Dhabi, to the Global Media Congress, a highly impressive showcase of regional media - with exhibitors from further afield including the Philippines, Russia, Azerbaijan - and Israel. It’s a place where East meets West. My guest today is typical of the spirit of big heartedness. His name is Loay Alshareef and he gave me a very personal guided tour of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, in which we talked about the differences between Islam, Judaism and Christianity - but more importantly their parallels, what binds us as people of faith - in a world where secularity can sometimes get ahead of itself. The majesty and craftsmanship of this 21st-century wonder is breathtaking, The extravagant chandeliers in each room, the beautifully etched windows including the 99 Koranic words for G-d. The UAE is a nation state insistent on pursuing peace in the world - even with partners who they may still have fundamental, outstanding differences with. It has a defined national story, a founder and a magnificent foundation stone in the form of the Grand Mosque. It’s all very contemporary. Very 21st century and UAE nationhood is wrapped up in Islam, an Islam of tolerance and engagement and peace. Why? Because they’re a nation in a hurry to build and create, to diversify from 20th Century oil to new digital and climate economies. They need the best talent from around the world to help them do it - now! So Just 12% of the country is Emirati. The remaining 88% is made up of foreigners. Like London, 200 languages are spoken among its people. Loay is outward looking and educated internationally - he is a student of languages, an alumnus of Penn State University, he’s a computer engineer by qualification, loves nothing more than assembling them! LISTEN to a fascinating trip around the Global Media Congress in conversation with Loay Alshareef. This episode of Jonny Gould’s Jewish State is brought to you with Strategico, the full service digital marketing agency for your growth focused business.

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