Opinion and Editorial

UAE's message of tolerance should resonate globally

Azad Moopen
Filed on November 16, 2019 | Last updated on November 16, 2019 at 07.58 pm

These values were instilled by late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan

Tolerance is a virtue, one that should find place in all societies and cultures around the world. In fact, I consider it so powerful that I think it should be in the DNA of everyone for survival in the world. It is the most potent panacea for peace and prosperity in the universe. 

The UAE is synonymous with tolerance. Its founding values are based on promoting peaceful co-existence and accepting individuals of different nationalities, identities, and interests. These values were instilled by late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

A country, which is home to over 200 nationalities, where 88.5 per cent of the population comprises expatriates from different religions and cultural backgrounds, promotes tolerance at a level that most other countries can only aspire to. The UAE is the only nation in the world that has appointed a cabinet minister for tolerance, which shows the commitment of the visionary leaders towards this noble mission.

Thanks to the direction given by the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the 'Year of Tolerance' is fostering a culture of giving and sharing, developing social solidarity and diversity with an aim of empowering cultures and helping communities thrive. This has inspired and promoted religious, racial, communal, cultural and political tolerance and allowed all of us to live and imbibe this virtue in our daily lives. It is heartening to see the temples, churches, gurudwaras coexisting with the mosques. They are signposts of the great culture of tolerance practised in this country. Welcoming Pope Francis to this 'oasis of peace' with open arms and laying the foundation stone for the grand temple in Abu Dhabi elevate the stature of the UAE as a global capital of tolerance.

Being an expatriate, I could not have chosen a better country to live my life in, and bring up my children. There has never been a time that I have felt like I did not belong to the UAE. From the minute I landed at the airport to now when I have been granted a 10-year visa, the UAE has always promoted an environment that has been conducive to personal and professional lives. This is the best place in the world to be in with my family and establish my business headquarters. I have met people, each with unique life stories, and learnt so much along the way. I have also been fortunate to build lifelong friendships that I will cherish forever.

I have tried to emulate tolerance in my personal and professional lives, and encourage everyone around me to do so. At the work front, we celebrate festivals of all nationalities and cultural backgrounds through various events, ensuring that our differences are celebrated as wonderfully as our commonalities - we  all share  the same DNA after all.

It is important for us all to remain informed and educated about each other's differences, and to realise that we need to celebrate these differences and not classify them as issues or shy away from them. As a community, we need to break away from preconceived notions and open our minds to learning more about the cultures that surround us - what we learn can be beautiful and life-changing.

We live in a world where we see disharmony because of the lack of this basic ability, or desire, to understand the importance of diversity and the impact of this diversity on the growth and success of a country. We should all appreciate the efforts made by the UAE from the time the country was born, and cherish the personal and professional relationships we have formed with people from various backgrounds. I look forward to more tolerance, more understanding, and more empathy from my fellow residents in the years to come.

We all must learn, practice, and celebrate 'Unity in Diversity'.

Azad Moopen is the Chairman and Managing Director of Aster DM Healthcare

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