KT edit: UAE is grounded in religious harmony
People from all corners of the world enjoy religious freedom here.
There are no first among equals when it comes to different faiths practised around the world. The core message and belief of all religions is to propagate love for humankind and live with their fellow brethren in peace and harmony. Yet, our world is deeply divided along religious lines and cultural differences. Hate begets hate, violence begets violence. There's no stopping the cycle unless our political and religious leaders take a stand and ensure the intolerant are not tolerated. "We should claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant," wrote the great political philosopher Karl Popper in The Open Society and its Enemies. The UAE has been a guiding light to the world on this front. Because the Rulers here are intolerant to religious or cultural discrimination, we have the most tolerant society in the world. People from all corners of the world enjoy religious freedom here.
The UAE is keen to spread this idea across the world, and its three-day Interreligious Meeting last year was a monumental step in this direction. It brought Pope Francis for the first time to the Arabian Peninsula, and together with the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Ahmad Al Tayyeb, the pontiff signed the document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together. It was an appeal to put an end to the scourge of terrorism and violence that has gripped our world. Violence in the name of religion is the biggest disservice to humanity, and this summit sent a strong message that cordial living should be the only way forward. Our collective prosperity and success will be assured when we learn to respect our differences. It is worth remembering what Pope Francis said at the end of the meeting: "There is no alternative: we will either build the future together or there will not be a future. Religions, in particular, cannot renounce the urgent task of building bridges between peoples and cultures. The time has come when religions should more actively exert themselves, with courage and audacity, and without pretence, to help the human family deepen the capacity for reconciliation, the vision of hope and the concrete paths of peace." These words should guide people, not just in the UAE but across the world.