ABU DHABI, 11th December, 2017 (WAM) — Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, has reaffirmed the UAE’s firm stance on the Arab identity of Jerusalem, considered as a core element in the Middle East peace process.
Sheikh Nahyan made his remarks during a speech at the 4th Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, which opened today.
The Minister of Tolerance went on to say that the UAE will continue to support the Arab identity of Jerusalem and its legal status, in accordance with international laws and conventions, as well as continuing to support the rights of the Palestinian people.
He described the issue of Jerusalem as being the main guarantor of stability in the region, and as representing the essence of the peace process.
“Supporting the rights of the Palestinian people is a firm policy of the UAE. The nation’s leadership continues to support the efforts of the international community to establish the true principles of peace that serve the interests of all parties and to achieve security and stability in the region, without resorting to extremist speech,” Sheikh Nahyan continued.
Addressing the participants in the Forum, Sheikh Nahyan emphasised the importance of forming an Islamic council of observers to monitor and document all cases of Islamophobia, acts of hate and violence against Muslims on a global scale. He stressed the importance of working hard to actively build successful alliances in countries with multi-cultural societies, to ensure careful and precise analysis of the causes and motives behind such hateful acts and to develop legislation to deal with such cases in an appropriate manner.
“This Forum, held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, is an embodiment of his pride in our heritage and of his desire to promote the values of tolerance, coexistence and peace between all nations and their peoples,” Sheikh Nahyan said.
The Minister added that the UAE has shown, through its various initiatives, its desire to emphasise the role of religion in the progress of societies and the importance of dialogue and communication between individuals of all religions and beliefs, so as to achieve lasting peace and stability across the world.
“The UAE is a successful model, which demonstrates that opening up to the world and contributing actively in the international arena has led to its success as a leading nation. This success is attributed to the Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who always emphasised the use of communication and dialogue to achieve understanding between peoples, and that individuals working together will always lead to the progress and prosperity of societies on a local and global level.
“This wise vision has been carried forward by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, who emphasise that dialogue, tolerance, and understanding between individuals is the way forward to building a world of peace, prosperity and stability,” Sheikh Nahyan continued.
He said, “The overwhelming majority of the world’s population have narrow local interests and little knowledge of other peoples or civilisations. This situation is used by malicious and ill-intentioned people to spread lies and fabrications about Islam and Muslims. Some of them claim to their fellow-countrymen that Muslims and immigrants are the causes of their economic suffering, others claim that attacking Islam and Muslims is a defence of democracy and human rights and they falsely accuse Islam of being incompatible with these values and concepts.”
“We see the result of this in the fear of Islam and Muslims felt by some people in many societies. This is then reflected in the discriminatory treatment of Muslims and in the increasing of violence against them. It is reflected, too, in as the negative view in media when describing any events related to them, and in what we see in Western societies, especially the books, literature and websites that attack Islam and Muslims and working with the intention of twisting facts and falsifying the truth. Unfortunately, they use the challenges and effects of the phenomenon of globalisation and the consequent marginalisation of some segments of society, in addition to the movements of migration and refugees and the terrorist attacks carried out by some of those affiliated with Islam in the territories of those countries,” Sheikh Nahyan continued.
He pointed out that fear of Islam in many societies is not only a phenomenon related to the behaviour of individuals, but is also, in fact, what he described as an odious racist trend related to the structure of society and the effectiveness of its institutions in absorbing and empowering all population groups in society, including Muslim citizens and immigrants of whatever faith.
Sheikh Nahyan added, “Effective education is the right way through which we show non-Muslims the nature of Islam and its great contributions to the march of humanity and make it clear that Islam is a great religion that calls for dialogue, respects the other, cherishing knowledge and positive communication with everyone. Islam always celebrates the principles of shura, (consultation), human rights, the rule of law and responsibility. It is a heavenly religion that is cherished by its followers and is practiced with reverence, love and pride.”
The Minister of Tolerance emphasised the need to work with all countries and peoples to improve living conditions, eradicate poverty everywhere and provide economic opportunities for all.
“Terrorism, violence, extremism and racism for some are not limited to one religion or another. It is our duty to unite in order to help societies to deal with this phenomenon successfully.” He pointed out that the fear of Islam is rooted in poverty, failure and pessimism while success and prosperity are two important factors that bring trust, hope and openness towards each other.
“We at the Ministry of Tolerance consider that the spreading of the values of religious tolerance and the deepening of the bonds of love and understanding among the followers of different faiths are an important part of our work,” Sheikh Nahyan said.
He expressed his hope that strong relations would be established with all activities and institutions of society at a global level, to launch important and effective initiatives to spread the culture of tolerance and to eliminate the fear that others may feel with regards to Islam and Muslims. It was also important, he noted, to work with everyone to spread knowledge and awareness of different cultures and religions and to promote the values of the UAE in preventing extremism, racism, hatred, terrorism and combating all forms of discrimination.
“The Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies is a suitable occasion to invite everyone to contribute to our efforts and to build a base upon which we can build useful international relations,” Sheikh Nahyan said. “This would become an effective component of the soft power of the UAE and would represent a sincere input to the contribution of all of us to the achievement of world peace.”
WAM/Rola Al Ghoul