No. 649

Tolerance

  • 13 February 2019

The concept of tolerance means accepting the mistakes of others, forgiving insults and welcoming all people. Therefore, tolerance is a moral value that requires true, sincere faith. It is an Islamic value demonstrated by people with hearts full of faith. Islam promotes the highest moral values and urges adherence to these attributes to build a cohesive, strong society. There are many verses in the Holy Quran that call for gentleness, peace and the rejection of violence and oppression. The sayings and actions of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) reflect values of tolerance and love. While all monotheistic religions call for tolerance, love of others and respect for humanity.

There are various forms of tolerance. Cultural tolerance rejects opposition to different ideas and cultures, and instead embraces the value of dialogue. There is also religious tolerance, where freedom of religious practice is respected and racial and religious discrimination are shunned. Moral tolerance stems from the way we interact with those different to us, while social tolerance means peaceful coexistence with others and the acceptance of ideas and practices we may not agree with.

It is clear that a culture of tolerance and moderation is deep-rooted in the UAE, which hosts more than 200 nationalities enjoying a decent life, respect and equality. The UAE is also considered an incubator of tolerance and moderation. Its laws ensure justice, respect and equality for all, and they criminalize hatred and bigotry as factors of division and discord. In this context, the UAE has become a global capital, where civilizations of East and West converge.

Since it was established, the UAE has embodied a unique model that enshrines pluralism and respect for others. It is also an important platform for initiatives to spread values of tolerance, which were consolidated by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may God rest his soul in peace), and his brothers, the founding fathers. The UAE has been keen to promote values of coexistence and openness, disseminating the language of dialogue and intellectual communication. In fact, the UAE’S very pillars of state are built on this strategy. Therefore, the nation has become, by virtue of policies based on moderation and respect for human rights, a beacon for tolerance and a global role model.

The UAE has taken a number of steps to consolidate tolerance as an integral component of stability and prosperity, with laws introduced alongside local, regional and international programs. In 2006, the UAE issued the Law on International Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters and in 2009, formed the UAE National Counter-Terrorism Committee. In 2015, the Anti-Discrimination Law was enacted, while an exceptional step to promote moderation saw the UAE Ministry of Tolerance established to reflect the leadership’s conviction that tolerance facilitates peace. Furthermore, the International Institute for Tolerance was established, as well as the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Award for Tolerance.

A practical example of the UAE’s spirit of tolerance came from His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces (may God protect him). He renamed Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Mosque, in Abu Dhabi’s Al Mushrif area, Mariam Umm Eisa (Mary, Mother of Jesus) mosque. The move came in an effort to enhance connections between followers of various religions.

On December 15, 2018, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President (may God protect him), declared 2019 the Year of Tolerance to highlight the UAE as a global capital of tolerance. While the historic visit to Abu Dhabi of His Holiness Pope Francis embodied UAE endeavors to enhance a culture of tolerance. During the visit, the Pope celebrated mass with His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmed El-Tayeb, before they signed the Human Fraternity Document at The Founder’s Memorial. Thus, the UAE has set a new example for enhancing inter-religious dialogue.

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Wednesday 13 February 2019

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Wednesday 13 February 2019

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