The enlightened thought and sheer hard slog that has gone into making the UAE a near Utopia is incalculable.
Together we have created a harmonious, multi-cultural, peaceful society that is beautiful from the inside as well as outside — where innovation and creativity can flourish. Success has not come easy. I shared our nation’s struggles from its inception in 1972 and watched with pride as we overcame each obstacle with flying colours.
Emiratis are arguably the most privileged on earth. We enjoy a better standard of living than those in the so-called developed world and the same is true for most GCC countries whose citizens are provided with financial assistance, homes and the highest standards of education and health care.
Nobody here has to worry about their next meal, unlike the wealthiest countries on earth where individuals down on their luck queue outside soup kitchens. In the UN Development Index, the UAE ranks first in the region for “very high human development” in terms of health, education, income and gender equality. We have much to be proud of.
So hearing that the UAE’s security authorities, in coordination with Saudi Arabia, had arrested “an organised cell” (consisting of Saudi and Emirati nationals) planning to carry out actions against the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States, sent my blood boiling with rage.
I thank God that the UAE has a sophisticated intelligence and security apparatus capable of interrupting such unthinkable plans. But even the idea that there are people out there plotting to harm us is a cause of distress.
The question is why? What is that drives a few of our own citizens to destroy rather than build? What kind of creatures are these? A WAM report on the arrests was non-specific, mentioning only “a deviant group”. It is not unlikely that they are part of a rogue state like Iran and its allies.
“Just how many Emiratis does the government intend to jail for expressing political opinions?” asked the Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, Sarah Leah Whitson, following the arrests.
Whitson should get her facts straight. According to WAM, they were detained for committing crimes that harm state security and for having affiliations with groups harbouring foreign agendas, not for their political views.
Whoever are involved in this latest plot are weak individuals that have either been brainwashed or paid by outside entities — those same entities that caused upheavals in Bahrain and Kuwait.
They are traitors who no longer deserve to be called Saudis or Emiratis. No punishment is too severe for people whose agenda includes the spilling of innocent blood and threats to our safety and security.
Our police forces and intelligence communities must remain vigilant to keep these diseased ideologies out. Every patriot should be alert to any hint of this poison before it begins to flow through our society’s veins.
Forget the complaints of human rights organisations, which care more about the rights of terrorists than safeguarding populations. Terrorists and troublemakers do not have rights — end of story. They contend that they are true Muslims, an obscenity when Islam is a peaceful and tolerant faith.
The UAE and the GCC governments and citizens abide by the pure teachings of Islam and its laws without distortion. We are guided by the legitimate interpretation of Islam every waking hour by showing respect to the beliefs of others and reaching out to the needy, irrespective of the recipients’ faith, race or colour.
If I sound intolerant, so be it. I will not tolerate anyone seeking to make my beloved homeland a hell on earth and worse, doing so using Islam as their banner. They are traitors and blasphemers and I urge the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other GCC authorities to crush their cells with an iron fist.
We only have to cast an eye at the mayhem all around us to realise the urgency of cleansing our countries from the enemy within and to protect our borders from enemy infiltrators, especially Iranian-backed sleeper cells with a malicious agenda. Those groups patiently waiting to take advantage of the slightest opportunity are an even bigger danger than Islamist organisations.
The loyalties of GCC citizens working with Iran in any capacity should be evaluated by intelligence authorities. Iran’s surrogates intent on our downfall are the most lethal and poisonous of all because their aim is to place us under Tehran’s boot as an Iranian province like the predominantly Arab Ahwaz today.
I don’t know which Holy Book those bent on our ruin adhere to, but for certain it is not the Quran that states the killing of one person — other than someone who murders or spreads mischief in the land — is akin to the slaying of all humanity.
Moreover, numerous references in the Quran enjoin Muslims to be unified, such as Surah Al ‘Imran 3: 103 — “And hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allah, and be not divided among yourselves”.
These are some of the most worrying times in our nation’s history, requiring each one of us who loves this country to support our government’s efforts to protect all that we have worked for and keep us safe.
Khalaf Al Habtoor is a businessman and chairman of Al Habtoor Group.