Achieving tolerance requires participation, contribution of everyone: Nahyan bin Mubarak

ABU DHABI, 15th November, 2017 (WAM) — Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister for Tolerance, revealed that the Ministry of Tolerance is currently drafting a comprehensive plan to promote tolerance and co-existence while highlighting that its mission stipulates the development of mutual respect, peaceful relations and positive understanding among all the country’s residents, regardless of their culture and beliefs.In a special interview with the Emirates News Agency, WAM, he stressed that the ministry’s work is based on four key areas: community awareness through programmes that target all segments of the community; building community relations that support tolerance and peaceful co-existence; performing activities and events throughout the year that promote the values of tolerance, and performing research and studies and creating indexes to monitor the implementation and measure the achievement of their desired outcomes.He added that the UAE is playing a leading role globally in promoting the values of tolerance, due to the presence of a wise leadership that is keen to develop these values, as well as co-existence and peace, and a people who are open to the world with a strong belief in Islam and local traditions and are loyal to the nation’s symbols and principals.Sheikh Nahyan highlighted the importance and vital role of education in developing the values of tolerance and co-existence among members of the community while adding that all students must understand and respect different cultures, civilisations and religions, and schools should be effective in preventing students from being attracted to violence or terrorism.He affirmed that the Ministry of Tolerance works for everyone, whether nationals and foreigners and the role of foreigners in the country is to convey the message of tolerance from the UAE to the entire world. We, in the UAE, are proud of the fact that tolerance and peaceful co-existence is a key part of the journey of our nation, and our role in promoting tolerance around the world is reflected by our consecutive achievements in bringing hope and optimism to the relations between civilisations and cultures, he stated.Sheikh Nahyan further said that the launch of Louvre Abu Dhabi this week is an excellent example of this while noting that the UAE’s role in promoting tolerance also extends to local laws and legislation that prevent hate and extremist crimes and counter all forms of discrimination. This role also includes the country’s consecutive and ongoing efforts to develop its education system and confirm the relevant responsibilities of the media while highlighting their importance in introducing the world to the tolerant nature of Islam and its contributions to the history of humanity. In the UAE, both, nationals and residents, enjoy respect and dignity, and we add this to our important global role, which also includes participating in global conferences, both inside and outside the UAE, and permanently communicating with relevant institutions around the world, he further added while pointing out that the tolerance in the UAE is an important part of the country’s foreign affairs policies, as it has a positive effect on building successful international relations and is a key aspect of soft power, confirming the UAE’s leading international stature. Tolerance in the UAE also includes communication with all foreign communities inside the country and promoting their role in introducing others to the nation’s journey and the tolerance and peaceful co-existence they are experienced in the country, he further said. There is no doubt that the characteristics of the UAE’s nationals have led to the emergence of the values of tolerance and co-existence in the country, and these characteristics include their openness to the world, their courage in facing challenges, their open minds and willingness to listen to other opinions, their awareness about their responsibilities, and their loyalty to the nation, as well as their commitment to achieving justice and respect for everyone’s rights, Sheikh Nahyan further added.Sheikh Nahyan said that the Ministry of Tolerance will always be an active ministry, which will work hard for the country’s residents while focussing on every individual in the community, based on clear and specific outcomes and goals that encourage it to constantly develop and renew it targets, which can be practically measured and monitored. Achieving tolerance requires the participation and contribution of everyone, including nationals and foreigners, the youth and the elderly, women and men, ministries and organisations, schools and universities, civil society organisations, and representatives of all the communities in the country, who must constantly participate in the ministry’s activities and support its message of tolerance, he added.Sheikh Nahyan again highlighted the importance of education in developing the values of tolerance and co-existence among members of society while calling on schools to be effective organisations that spread tolerance and prevent students from being attracted by violence, terrorism and anti-social behaviour.He emphasised, in his interview with WAM for the annual International Day for Tolerance on 16th November, the necessity of using social media to spread positive information to combat destructive ideas and strengthen belonging and loyalty to the values and principles of the nation, as well as the important and relevant role of families, clerics, businessmen, schools, universities, ministries and civil society organisations.He further stressed that the International Institute for Tolerance has prepared a work plan, which includes the areas of education, awareness, studies, research, conferences, dialogues and effective communication with social and international organisations, which will be implemented in the coming year. Education has a vital role in promoting the values of tolerance and co-existence among members of the community, and academic programmes must aim for every student to understand and respect diverse cultures, civilisations and religions. Schools must also be effective in preventing students from being attracted to violence, terrorism or anti-social behaviour, as we want every member of society to know the divine wisdom behind the differences in humans, and to participate with everyone in everyday life and not to be isolated from society because of differences in terms of colour, sex, language, religion or opinions, Sheikh Nahyan remarked. For schools to succeed in performing this role, there must be solidarity and joint work between all segments of society, including the family, the business community, the Ministry of Tolerance and other organisations, which must work together to determine and deliver the message that our society aims to pass on to future generations, he added. We thank Allah Almighty that the education system in the country completely realises its responsibilities in this area and does excellent work in this regard. I remember, as an example of this, the leading initiative of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to adopt ‘Moral Education’ as a course in every school in the country, which reflects the nation’s desire to promote key humanitarian values, high morals and good behaviour, which are the qualities that encourage the nation’s sons and daughters to embrace tolerance and co-existence and avoid sectarianism and intolerance, he added.Regarding the role of foreigners in the country in spreading tolerance, Sheikh Nahyan said, The role of foreigners in the country in delivering the message of tolerance from the UAE to the rest of the world is an important one, which we, in the ministry, are working on developing and making into an important aspect of showcasing the country and its relevant accomplishments. You may have noticed that I participated, last month, in the International Conference on Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Co-existence in the Middle East, in Greece, and the country’s delegation included representatives of various segments of the community, who spoke well about their good experiences in the UAE and how they are able to practice their religious rituals with total freedom. Their contributions had a favourable effect on the other participants of the conference. That was one example of how foreigners can deliver the UAE’s message of tolerance to the entire world. Regarding advances in technology and the social media and their impact on hate speech, intolerance and extremism, as well as his views on how to limit this phenomenon, he stated, This is an international issue, and we find that social media is, in many cases, a platform for evil and undesirable content and information, which might encourage damaging and dangerous practices. There is now a general view in most countries around the world about the necessity of using these technologies, by responsible bodies in their societies, to issue positive information to combat destructive ideas and strengthen belonging and loyalty to the values and principles of the nation. We, in the Ministry of Tolerance, hope to make a positive contribution in this area, where clear roles are determined for families, clerics, businessmen, schools, universities, ministries and civil society organisations, as well as leaders and members of the community, and where everyone can work together to spread and promote the values of tolerance and co-existence within our society, he said in conclusion.”}]

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