Abdullah Hamdan Bin Dalmook - CEO of the Hamdan Bin Mohammad Heritage Centre
“The UAE has always been a natural point linking the East and West, and has for many decades served as a commercial gateway for different nationalities. Its march towards greater progress began with rulers who endeavoured to lay the foundation for a just society. Despite the independence of each of the seven emirates at the time, they all represented a single way of life which was later solidified by their union under one flag. Leaders have come in succession, however, the national goals have remained unchanged. Led by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and his brother, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and their brothers the Rulers of the Emirates, these goals have favoured the building of an independent prosperous state that enjoys stability and promotes the happiness of its people. The march of the UAE has reached one of its main goals when President His Highness issued a law to promote nationalism, belongingness, patriotism, affluence, equality and social justice among citizens and residents alike, continuously moving forward in order that future generations may enjoy further peace and prosperity.”
Ali Mohammad Al Beloushi, Attorney-General of Abu Dhabi
The new anti-discrimination law is meant to protect all the components of the fabric of society and safeguard their privacy within a framework of respect that is in keeping with the International Human Rights Law and, more importantly, with the Arab and the Islamic civilisation.
The penalties are in line with the spirit of Islamic culture embraced by the country’s society which rejects hatred and discrimination.
Strict action will be taken against any form of expressions of hatred or incitement to hate crimes, spread in the form of speech and published media, that will protect society from any attempt to damage its security.
Major General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, Dubai Police Chief
Major General Al Mazeina lauded the new law, adding that this reflects the UAE leadership’s commitment to establishing relations based on mutual respect between individuals and nations. He added that the UAE has spared no effort when it comes to protecting human rights, especially the rights of those who live on its land, and this has led it to become an oasis that is home to more than 200 nationalities that live in harmony. Maj Gen Al Mazeina said that the law protects people’s ethnic, racial and religious differences, and preserves their freedoms, as well as makes them all equal in front of the law. He added that Dubai Police are ready to implement all the provisions of this law, using all its resources, human or technical, to protect people and reduce crime.
Dr Ebtisam Al Katbi, Professor of Political Science and Chairperson of Emirates Policy Centre
“The law preserves social cohesion and safeguards the UAE against bullying and social exclusion. The UAE does not condone hate crimes which are violent manifestations of intolerance and have a deep impact not only on the immediate victim but the group with which that victim
identifies him or herself. It protects community cohesion and social stability.
The enactment of a hate crime law is a powerful expression of society’s condemnation of certain offences as especially reprehensible, and deserving of greater punishment.
It shows the UAE’s commitment to preventing and eliminating all forms of intolerance and racial discrimination and refrain from race discrimination based on ethnicity, national origin or religion and to provide their residents with equal protection of all laws.”
Salem Mohammad Al Ameri, former member of FNC from Abu Dhabi
“The law sends a message to offenders that a just and humane society will not tolerate crimes motivated by intolerance towards certain groups in society because these hate crimes have the potential to divide societies, and to create cycles of violence and retaliation.
The law is a vigorous response to such crimes and an expression of society’s values. The hate crime law both expresses the UAE’s social value of equality and fosters the development of those values. There are many other aspects to a comprehensive national programme to combat bias-motivated violence, including education, outreach and training.”
Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, First Deputy Speaker of the Federal National Council, Member of the Executive Authority of Government of Abu Dhabi, and Director-General of Abu Dhabi Education Council,
“Religious tolerance is one of the core values endorsed by the UAE since its inception. The country hosts hundreds of nationalities who live in peace, stability and in an environment of mutual respect. The UAE always stresses at all forums the directives of its leadership to combat discrimination and hate rhetoric. The FNC has submitted a number of proposals to the Inter Parliamentary Union and other rights bodies to adopt values of respect for religions and their symbols, eschew violence and fight all forms of discrimination to safeguard world peace and security.”
Dr Jamal Sanad Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research
“The UAE is a role model in co-existence between various cultures and religions and its laws ensure that all nationalities live in peace and harmony regardless of their race, religion, colour or ethnic origin.
The anti-discrimination law comes at a very delicate time as extremist groups thrive on man-made conflicts between cultures and religions.
The law will promote the UAE’s co-existence model, incriminating bigotry, discrimination and intolerance. It is indicative of the Emirati leaders’ vision of dialogue and co-existence among various cultures and religions.”
Mohammad Salem Al Kaabi, Chairman of Emirates Human Rights Association
“The UAE’s move to implement the anti-discriminatory and hatred law is an advanced civilised step to protect the rights and dignity of citizens and residents on its territory.
The anti-discrimination law will punish those who incite hatred and preach destructive and intolerant ideas in the community, citing that destructive ideas have wrought havoc in some countries. No doubt, it will enhance social security.
The developed countries implement these laws to combat discrimination and hatred to protect people from any verbal or intellectual abuse.
Such a law is an urgent need for all countries, especially amid many messages of concern that incite racial hatred on social networking sites.”
Dr Mohammad Bin Howaidin, chairman of the political science department at the UAE University
“The anti-discrimination law is a remarkable testimony to the strength of belief and hope the UAE holds in the face of bigotry and violence — a goal towards which the international community should seek to contribute.
The law is a timely move as the UAE — a home to nationalities from around the world — guards against hate speech and terrorism in a troubled Middle East region. Combating and preventing bigotry and hate speech at the same time is key to preventing terrorism.”
Mohammad Yousuf, Chairman of the UAE Journalist Association
“The anti-discrimination law has come at the right time to fill the gap in the UAE’s legislations. It is now the duty of the media to educate the public on the law, that all are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law and that all are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this hate crime law and against any incitement to such discrimination.”
Judge Dr Jamal Al Sumaiti, Director General of Dubai Judicial Institute
“The Anti Discimination Law is an extension of international, regional and local initiatives undertaken by the United Arab Emirates towards establishing a peaceful society within a set of values and humanitarian principles with the aim to create a healthy environment based on peaceful coexistence and to rejecting ideas that would disturb that environment.
“The Law has been stipulated to combat discrimination and hatred and in response to the current and recent unstable reality that the region has been living. The regional sectarian strife has brought our friends in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Iraq, Syria and Yemen to reject other sects and cultivated the hate speech in addition to the discrimination between groups, sects and contempt of religion. Meanwhile this new Law has identified the speech of hatred as ‘every statement or action that could provoke sedition or strife or discrimination between individuals and groups’ which is an act punishable by law.”
Emirati lawyer Diana Hamada
“The UAE legislator is acting swiftly to protect the country from the impact of the developments in the very close region.
“The anti-discrimination law is needed to keep the unity of the UAE people, as referred to in Article 25 of the UAE constitution where the ‘UAE citizens’ term include locals and residents. It has also gone as far as penalising companies criminally if any of their employees violate the law. I believe the legislation covers all foreseen areas of violations in a comprehensive manner. Meanwhile, the death penalty is provided in the event of a violation leading to murder. This law is what the UAE needs despite the criticism it may receive from many.”
Emirati Ahmad Bin Al Shaikh, 25, works in government tourism body
“I welcome the new law because such values are dear to the people and, as a tolerant society, we should support these values. It will help because it will stop any sort of negative news spread in the country that can negatively influence people and cause mischief in society. As far as consequences, I worry that people might take advantage of it and use it incorrectly, but I have trust in my country that it will be able to see through such people.”
Hamda Al Shaiji, 19, Emirati international relations student, Zayed University
“I think it is a very important law, it will help eliminate hatred between people and it will stop people from looking down on others just because of their nationality or religion. I have seen many cases of Arabs discriminating and talking down to Asian workers and it disgusts me. So I hope this law will stop it. I don’t want my country to be like other countries that discriminate. The new law will also protect the country from any extremist groups emerging.”