UAE proves tolerance is essential for development

It is part of the culture, religion, and welcoming traditions of the country

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Published: Tue 17 May 2022, 10:28 PM

Co-existence, dialogue, tolerance. The UAE has become the global capital for these values. In fact, the country was founded 50 years ago on the principles of ‘respect, tolerance, and cooperation’. “To treat every soul, no matter what his creed or race, as a special soul, is a mark of Islam,” said the Founding Father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan when the country was formed.

Tolerance is part of the culture, religion, and welcoming traditions of this country that believes in human capital above all else. And tolerance begins at home, in families; it spreads to communities and the society at large.

The UAE intends to make it a global movement as a counter to extremism that pits brother against brother, religion against religion, and country against country. The effort has been successful and the ‘clash of civilisations’ that was predicted after the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, has been averted.

Extremist ideology has been contained with this push for tolerance and co-existence among people despite the rise of groups like Daesh and Al Qaeda. If the UAE with 200 nationalities can do it, other countries can also tread the path of dialogue and avoid disputes.

The country’s pursuit of this virtue began in earnest in 2015 with a Federal Law to Combat Hatred and Discrimination. In a global first, the country appointed a Minister of State for Tolerance the following year. In Dubai, the Tolerance Bridge for pedestrians was opened in 2017. “Bridges connect people, cultures, and hearts,” said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai. The World Tolerance Summit was held in the country in 2018. The world took notice of how serious the UAE was about tolerance when Catholic Pope Francis made a state visit to the UAE, a first for the region the following year which was named the Year of Tolerance.

The Pope signed the Human Fraternity document with Dr Ahmed Al Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar, which “invites all persons who have faith in God and faith in human fraternity to unite and work together”.

It was an epochal moment. With the Abraham Accords of 2020, more history was made. Today, the UAE has Hindu temples, churches, and gurdwaras. Jewish prayers are held every week. People from different countries live, work and worship in the spirit of tolerance. “Nations built on values of tolerance, love and respect are those that can achieve lasting peace, stability and security in their development journeys,” said the President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Indeed, from tolerance springs love and mutual respect. Other countries must not delay their tolerance journeys and join the UAE in this movement for world peace.

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