Lubna Al Qasimi launches National Tolerance programme

ABU DHABI, 16th November 2016 (WAM) — “Every day is a Tolerance Day for us,” the Minister of State for Tolerance, Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, told foreign diplomats here today.

She was speaking on the occasion of the International Day of Tolerance at a special event to launch the UAE’s National Tolerance programme.

The event, at the capital’s Ritz Carlton Hotel, was attended by ambassadors, consuls and senior diplomats from nearly 150 of the foreign missions in the country. It was organised to provide the Minister with an opportunity to explain the UAE’s approach both internally and abroad.

Thanking the diplomats both for their interest and for the positive role that their resident communities in the UAE play in local society, Sheikha Lubna stressed the importance of the National Tolerance Programme by saying that “We need to raise the positive language of tolerance, of co-existence.”

“This programme is about all of us,” she said, “of us seeking for continuous improvement.”

While the Ministry of State for Tolerance was launching the programme, it had been developed, she noted, through wide-ranging discussions with other organisations and groups. She mentioned, in particular, the Family Development Foundation, whose President is H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, GWU, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, FDF, and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, the two women’s shelters in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Islamic Affairs departments and groups of religious believers from the various faiths present in the country.

A number of Embassies had also made suggestions, she said.

The Ministry,” she said, was like ‘an amplifier’, serving to spread the broader message.

Explaining the formulation of the UAE’s view of tolerance as representing a Tree of Life, with values drawn from the country’s roots, from Islam and from respect for international conventions, she added that one key aspect was shared common values.

This had been fundamental to the emergence of the UAE, she noted, recalling that “(the late) Sheikh Zayed built this nation on shared values, welcoming everyone to live here.”

She also said that the country’s approach to tolerance was not simply something that had emerged with the founding of the UAE Federation in 1971.

“The pre-Islamic Christian monastery on Sir Bani Yas, founded by the Church of the East in the 7th Century AD, is evidence that our tolerance has deep roots.”

PH The same message could be drawn from other archaeological sites around the world, she added.

Paying credit to the work done by bodies like the Muslim Council of Elders, Hedayah and the Sawab Centre to counter extremism, Sheikha Lubna stressed the need to develop a clear focus on how to prevent the recruitment of young people by extremists. Her Ministry plans to work closely with the Ministry of Youth and other bodies on this, she said.