The United Arab Emirates, during April, witnessed various events and activities that consolidated the process of transforming "Tolerance" from a societal value to sustainable institutional action, according to clear mechanisms and strategies.
The hosting of the conference on 'Tolerance in the Context of Legislative and Judicial Systems', the opening of the 'Tolerance Neighbourhood Project' in Umm Al Qaiwain along with the announcement of charitable initiatives for the Holy Month of Ramadan, highlighted the events in which the UAE reiterated its status as a global reference for tolerance.
The country also, through these initiatives, highlighted its outstanding and ample role establishing and creating channels of communication with all peoples.
The terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan capital Colombo last week, which claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent people, underscored the urgent need to accelerate the implementation of the provisions of the 'Human Fraternity Document' signed by Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, and Dr. Ahmed Al Tayyeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar, in Abu Dhabi in February.
In this special bulletin, the Emirates News Agency, WAM, reviews the UAE's latest events, stances and initiatives related to tolerance in the month of April.
Institute for Tolerance
In early April, the Board of Trustees of the International Institute for Tolerance, IIT, in Dubai, a branch of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, approved the institute’s five-year strategic plan from 2019 to 2023.
The plan is based on six main axes, which are guaranteeing the happiness of customer by exceeding their expectations, creating effective long-term sustainable partnerships with stakeholders, establishing tolerance by building a cohesive community based on tolerance, peace, coexistence and acceptance, creating an educated and innovative working environment by empowering human resources through training, development and continuous learning, and focussing on active institutional governance through managing financial resources efficiently and effectively.
The plan includes six main goals, which will be implemented through a series of axes that will aim to spread tolerance and friendliness among the entire community and enhance the country’s stature as a model of tolerance, pluralism, culture and religious dialogue while highlighting the real image of Islam as a religion of tolerance and peace.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the 'Human Fraternity Document' is of universal importance, as it refutes the causes of extremism and defends the name of Islam and Christianity.
He added that the UN would use this document to promote world peace and security, adding that the UN would do its utmost to ensure that the document reaches everywhere so that everyone can have access to it Charitable Initiatives The humanitarian and charitable initiatives announced in April reflected a clear picture of the principles of tolerance enshrined in UAE culture. The Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, announced that 2 million people in the UAE and in another 83 countries will benefit from the Ramadan campaign this year at an initial cost of AED41 million.
The Faraj Fund announced that it has provided assistance to 11,154 inmates of penal and correctional institutions representing more than 50 nationalities and announced a number of initiatives for the 'Year of Tolerance'. The Fund also revealed some of its campaigns that it will pursue during the Holy Month of Ramadan, where it seeks to pay off the debts of 100 inmates. The fund will also see to assist 48 inmates during the UAE’s 48th National Day celebrations this year Umm Al Qaiwain has witnessed the opening of the 'Tolerance Neighbourhood Project'. The project includes 32 residential units located in Al Salamah, which were constructed through a donation by a local business leader, in cooperation with the Saud bin Rashid Al Mu'alla Charity and Humanitarian Foundation.
The Noor Dubai Foundation has launched a medical and awareness campaign under the name 'Tolerance in Sight', aiming to provide medical checkups in various religious institutions such as churches and mosques across the UAE. The campaign will provide free vision screening provided by Noor Dubai’s UAE outreach programme, the mobile eye clinic. In collaboration with the Dubai Health Authority, the campaign will also provide dental checkups, general medical checkups, and a blood donation drive.
In addition to providing medical checkups, the campaign aims to instil the spirit of tolerance by creating opportunities for dialogue and communication between different cultures and faiths on the occasion of the 'Year of Tolerance 2019'.
Emphasising the role of Emirati women in promoting tolerance, H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, has announced the theme for the 2019 Emirati Women's Day celebrations, as 'Women, Icons of Tolerance'.
Her Highness also stressed that the UAE community is tolerant and that women were a true symbol of tolerance in all fields.
The UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, hosted the ‘‘Tolerance in the Context of Legislative and Judicial Systems’, in which more than 200 experts in law, human rights and justice from around the world participated The conference highlighted the principles of Human Fraternity Document for global peace and coexistence.
Dubai also hosted "Enriching the knowledge Content of Tolerance" forum, with the participation of a number of writers, publishers, researchers, young influencers, innovators, different media platform.
In addition, Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre organised the 16th annual festival of the football championship on the ‘Year of Tolerance’ with the participation of 17 teams of the Indian community in the UAE.
In Beirut, with the support of the UAE Embassy, a joint artwork was launched with the participation of Emirati singer Hussein Al Jasmi and Lebanese singer Marwan Khoury, whose revenues are being donated one year after the launch of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Knights of Tolerance
The Knights of Tolerance Programme has achieved great success during its six sessions and has graduated more than 200 people, each turning into a local ambassador of tolerance.
Sri Lanka’s Terrorist Attack The UAE has condemned the terrorist bombings that targeted churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in April.
It also affirmed its firm stance against all forms of violence, terrorism and extremism, targeting all without distinction between religion and race.
Abu Dhabi's key landmarks lit up in colours of the Sri Lankan National Flag in solidarity with the Asian country’s leadership and people following the recent terrorist attacks against churches and hotels in Colombo.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received the imams of Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand, who witnessed a terrorist attack that resulted in dozens of innocent victims in March.
Sheikh Mohamed re-affirmed the UAE's keenness to promote the values of tolerance and coexistence of civilisation and peace between the peoples and countries of the world.
In April, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed has expressed his solidarity for the devastating fire that raged through the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral on Monday.
Sharing his thoughts on Twitter, he posted, "The world witnessed a terrible night with the burning of the historic Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris. We stand by our French friends and mourn the damage inflicted on one of the oldest and most famous world heritage landmarks."