Let Muslims be role models of peace and tolerance: UAE

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance speaks during the opening  International Muslim Communities Congress.-Photo By Ryan Lim
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan and other participants during the opening of the International Muslim Minorities Congress in Abu Dhabi. -Photo By Ryan Lim

Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Nahyan urged Muslims to be active members of their communities, especially in the fight against radicalism.

By Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Tue 8 May 2018, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 10 May 2018, 9:47 AM

Muslims should be role models in societies where they live and should foster peace, love and respect for others. They should also discourage people from acts of violence and extremism, a UAE minister told the first-ever Muslim minority conference here in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
"As Muslims, we should think of opening up active channels of communication with members of other religions to discuss issues affecting us all and come up with lasting solutions," Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance, said in his keynote speech at the International Muslim Communities Congress (IMMC).
The two-day conference aims to consolidate the values of tolerance and dialogue between different religious and cultural components of societies, making the world a better place for the future generations, and protecting them from the violent and extremist currents in the light of the increasing feelings of hostility and hatred. More than 400 prominent Islamic personalities from 130 countries are attending the conference aimed at tackling issues such as marginalisation and disenfranchisement of around half-a-billion of Muslims living in non-Muslim countries.
Sheikh Nahyan urged Muslims to be active members of their communities, especially in the fight against radicalism. Tolerance, peace and co-existence among people of different religions and ethnic backgrounds are key to security and development, and should be embraced by all nations, he stressed.
"Today we see thousands of people being displaced and others in refugee camps as a result of conflicts because people are not tolerating each other," said Sheikh Nahyan.
"The UAE values and advocates tolerance and peaceful co-existence among people of different religions and ethnic backgrounds because that is what Islam is teaching. Positive minds with love and tolerance are key factors in development and creating world peace," he added.
The minister said the UAE is keen on supporting all Muslims across the world and that it has created an opportunity to form a platform for Muslim minorities across the globe to serve them and help them to integrate into the societies.
Themed 'Future of Muslim Minorities: Opportunities and Challenges', the IMMC conference also discussed the challenges facing the Muslim minorities across the world and the need to support them.
Rexhep Meidani, former president of Albania, said Muslim minorities in Western countries face a problem of cultural identity because of discrimination and not being accepted by people of other religions.
"There is a real problem of discrimination and integration for minority Muslims, especially in Western countries. They have to first learn the cultures and traditions, languages of the majority people so they can be accepted in the community," said Meidani.
"This is really challenging as some Muslims sometimes have to compromise with the teachings and values of their religion and adapt to those of the majority so they can integrate in the society."
Meidani suggested that there should be a multi-cultural approach to create unity and share mutual understanding among societies other than the similarisation immigration policy in many Western countries.
"Nations also need to create equal opportunities for the marginalised groups and provide them with education. Muslim minorities should be consulted in policy-making to get their views and opinions," he said.   
Dr Tariq Al Kurdi, president of the United Nations Conference on Minority Issues in the World-Switzerland, said Muslims in non-Muslim countries are facing many challenges, whether in terms of services or education but the biggest challenge is for them to fit in their societies.
"Whereas Muslims in some parts of the world live in peace and harmony and have managed to integrate into the society, others are facing a problem of being discriminated or isolated and not being accepted by the communities where they live," said Al Kurdi.
"Muslims should be recognised and utilised in community development. Muslim minorities need to keep the dignity among their societies and should always believe in themselves and that they can make positive changes."
The speakers said with the prevalence of Islamophobia in many parts of the world, which undermines confidence among Muslim minorities, encourages hate speech, and increases accusations that suggest that 'Islam is against peace', there is a need to counter these allegations by highlighting Islam's vision of global peace.

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