Papal visit marks UAE as land of tolerance, says Hedayah Executive Director

ABU DHABI, 30th January, 2019 (WAM) — The forthcoming visit by Pope Francis to the UAE reiterates the country’s vision and that of its leadership, which highlights the importance of co-existence and dialogue between communities and cultures, the Executive Director of the Hedayah Centre, Maqsoud Kruse, told the Emirates News Agency, WAM.Speaking on the sidelines of a symposium organised by the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research on the UAE’s support for global tolerance initiatives, Kruse said that the historic visit marks the UAE as the land of tolerance, and Abu Dhabi as the capital of tolerance. Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Dr. Ahmed el-Tayeb, will visit the UAE from 3rd to 5th February. The visit will coincide with the Year of Tolerance that is being marked by the UAE in 2019. The UAE declaring 2019 as the Year of Tolerance reiterates the country’s vision and ability to transform theories of tolerance into global action, Kruse said. Now, with the Pope’s visit, and that of the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, we are able to echo further the UAE’s ability to transform a working mechanism of tolerance that reiterates co-existence and dialogue among various cultures and communities, he added.He went on to say that the Hedayah Centre, also known as The International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, is honoured to be a strategic partner with the UAE Ministry of Tolerance – a first of its kind globally – and a supporter of the UAE National Tolerance Programme.Commenting on how centres like Hedayah can play a decisive part in spreading messages of tolerance, Kruse told WAM that Hedayah continues to emphasise the important role that education plays in disseminating values of tolerance. Strategic messaging is also important in spreading messages of co-existence between communities around the world, he added. Hedayah, Kruse explained, has worked on many initiatives utilising social networking sites to impress upon individuals the values and lessons behind tolerance. Kruse concluded by saying that Hedaya will step up its efforts, via the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum, on the Year of Tolerance pillars, and on how research and studies can approach tolerance and co-existence mechanisms and apply them locally and globally.Abu Dhabi-based Hedayah was established in 2012 as an initiative by members of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum, GCTF, and is devoted to dialogue and communications, capacity building programmes, research and analysis to counter violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations.

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