James Patton
James Patton, president and CEO of the International Centre for Religion and Diplomacy, UAE Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: People of faith need to work on spreading tolerance in the community to help solve some of the “severe and extreme” human crises the world is facing, said James Patton, president and CEO of the International Centre for Religion and Diplomacy, UAE, speaking at the summit on a session on collaborative efforts to address issues of intolerance and discrimination.

Patton emphasised the need for faith communities to work together to alleviate poverty and inequality, and help in areas of immigration, displacement, and environmental issues,

“Within faith communities, we still have so much work to do to connect and talk to one other and work together. There is more urgency now to lead and join in solving common problems,” said Patton.

People should not compete in identities, but in achieving good work based on shared values such as tolerance and collaboration, he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Aziz Hasanovic, President Mufti of Islamic Community Republic of Croatia, referred to tolerance as the main condition for peace and the foundation of Islam.

“Peace is one of God’s names, and a word that exists in our greetings - Al Salam Alaikum - meaning peace be upon you,” he said.

Maqsoud Kruse, Executive Director of Hedayah, the International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, UAE, referred to education as one of the “antidotes” to violence and intolerance.

Kruse pointed out that through education and skills such as critical thinking, one can “awaken the intellect,” and better understand the importance of tolerance.

“What makes the UAE exceptional is the sense of connectedness to what it means to be a true global citizen,” he said.

Addressing the audience, he referred to the idea of identity as one that has two forms - identify by birth and identity by choice. “Instead of searching for who you are, I urge you to search for who you want to be,” he added.