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UAE: Global capital of tolerance, coexistence - experts

UAE: Global capital of tolerance, coexistence - experts
15 Nov 2023 08:48

AHMED SHAABAN (CAIRO)

Scholars and religious figures have praised the UAE’s tolerance initiatives, describing them as a unique global model that spreads values of peace, justice, mercy, shared living, acceptance of others, and human fraternity.

Under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE is enhancing the values of tolerance, coexistence, and human fraternity through various programmes, projects, and initiatives. Moreover, the UAE collaborates with relevant international institutions, such as different United Nations organisations. It also cooperates with brotherly and friendly countries, and regularly partakes in efforts to spread tolerance values in pursuit of peace.

The UAE joins the world in celebrating the International Day for Tolerance, celebrated annually on November 16. Through its efforts and initiatives to promote tolerance locally, regionally, and internationally, the UAE has rightfully earned the title of Global Capital of Tolerance, having worked for decades to become a land of coexistence and openness to different peoples and cultures.

The Spirit of Law
Former Dean of the College of Basic Islamic Studies at Al-Azhar University in Asyut, Dr. Mukhtar Marzouk, praised the initiatives promoted by the UAE, which advocate for forgiveness, human fraternity, tolerance, coexistence, and peace. He noted that people living in safety and security reflects the spirit of Islamic law.

In 2019, the UAE declared the Year of Tolerance, solidifying its status as a global capital of tolerance and emphasising that this value is a sustainable institutional practice that deepens dialogue, acceptance of others, and openness to different cultures.

Since its founding, the country has been a bridge for communication and coexistence between people and cultures in an open environment based on respect, rejection of extremism, and acceptance of others.
Marzouk told Aletihad that he appreciated the UAE’s establishment of think tanks, like Hedayah and Sawab, aimed at combatting extremist ideologies and terrorism, rejecting hate speech, correcting misconceptions, and promoting peaceful coexistence among people.

The country’s tolerance initiatives and experiences in combatting extremism have been successful, making it a moderate soft power in the region. Moderation is the foundation of tolerance and coexistence, he added.Hedayah and Sawab Centre

The UAE has reinforced these important values by creating a Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence, adopting a national programme for tolerance, and establishing international partnerships for capacity building, violence prevention, and combatting terrorism and crime, such as Hedayah - The International Centre of Excellence for Countering Extremism and Violent Extremism, and Sawab Centre.

Humanitarian Grounds
Reverend Rifaat Fikry, President of the Council for Ecumenical and Interfaith Dialogue of the Evangelical Church in Egypt and Associate Secretary General of the Middle East Council of Churches, emphasised the importance of principles of “A Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together”, endorsed by the UAE, which promotes peace and shared living among different peoples and religions.

During his interview with Aletihad, he highlighted that the UAE greatly values tolerance and coexistence among all religions through various initiatives and projects and respects diverse cultures. He mentioned the significance of this year’s celebration, especially considering the ongoing events in Gaza, and the need for countries to adhere to the principles of tolerance, peace, and shared living to end the war.

Fikry stressed the need for people to embrace pluralism and acceptance of others, especially in the presence of different religions and beliefs. He called for rejecting racism and hate speech, and combatting extremism and terrorism by promoting tolerance.

He commended the establishment of the interfaith complex known as Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi, which brings together different religions and allows everyone to practice them in their own way, describing it as an excellent model of tolerance and shared religious living, wishing to see it replicated in more countries.

Fikry expressed hope for adopting the UAE’s model of tolerance, acceptance of others, diversity, and cultural pluralism globally, especially in the Middle East, to end conflicts and wars.

Document of Human Fraternity
Dr. Nahla El-Saidi, Advisor to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar for Foreign Students Affairs and Head of the Development Centre of International Students, praised the UAE’s efforts and initiatives in promoting tolerance, peace, and acceptance of others. This is particularly crucial in the current global situation devastated by multiple conflicts, where people greatly need these values, especially peace, in the pursuit of prosperity and development.

In a statement to Aletihad, she said that Islam follows peace, tolerance, mercy, and justice as fundamental principles. She emphasised the need to implement the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” signed by His Eminence the Grand Imam Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed El-Tayeb, Sheikh of Al-Azhar, and His Holiness the Pope of the Vatican, in Abu Dhabi in 2019 under the generous sponsorship of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to spread the values of tolerance and peace.

El-Saidi mentioned her call at the Arab League to rally around the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” due to its extreme importance. The document, emanating from the land of tolerance, the UAE, is a lifeline for humanity, addressing various concerns, including women, children, and the elderly. 

She noted the implementation of the document’s values among foreign students at Al-Azhar through the Second Brother and Human Bond programme, aiming to spread its values globally. The document’s principles are applied in 137 countries to nurture generations with its ideals, underlining the importance of peace, tolerance, and coexistence.

Bridge of Tolerance and COP28
On September 15, 2023, the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence and the COP28 President-Designate signed a memorandum of understanding establishing cooperation to activate the values of tolerance, coexistence, and human fraternity within the conference’s activities, which positively impacts environmental sustainability and climate issues. 

Additionally, the Ministry will participate in organising and managing the Faith Pavilion at the conference, as part of the UAE’s efforts to mobilise all efforts to achieve the desired goals of COP28 for the sake of humanity worldwide.

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