Abu Dhabi: The UAE will mark 2019 as the ‘Year of Tolerance’, President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan declared on Saturday.
The move will highlight the UAE as a global capital for tolerance, via its various legislative and policy-oriented goals to enhance the role of the country in instilling the values of co-existence and peace in local, regional and international communities.
Shaikh Khalifa said the Year of Tolerance is an extension of the Year of Zayed (2018), as it upholds the values of tolerance and co-existence that the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan established among the people of the UAE.
“Instilling values of tolerance carries on Shaikh Zayed’s legacy and teachings,” Shaikh Khalifa said.
The Year of Tolerance will focus on five main pillars. First, to deepen the values of tolerance and co-existence among cultures and peoples by concentrating on teaching the youth the values of tolerance.
The second pillar seeks to solidify the UAE as the global capital for tolerance, via a series of initiatives and projects specialised in tolerance and dialogue between various cultures and civilisations.
Third, enacting multiple cultural programmes and contributions to build tolerant communities.
As for the fourth pillar, the focus is on legislative and policy-oriented objectives that contribute mandating cultural and religious tolerance, via dialogue.
Lastly, the fifth pillar will be promoting tolerance and co-existence via targeted media initiatives and projects.
The President also said: “Here in the UAE, the Year of Tolerance will be celebrated as a national effort towards further advancing a decades-long dream of creating a tolerant and cohesive society, open to peoples of varying cultures and religions from around the world. The UAE and tolerance go hand-in-hand.”
UAE’s key role
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said: “We want government policies that further consolidate tolerance and a deep sense of community, and to spread these values among our youth and future generations.”
“The UAE must lead the way for intellectual, cultural and media initiatives that further consolidate the values tolerance and co-existence, opening up to cultures of the region and the world as a whole,” he added.
Commenting on the announcement, His HIghness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said: “The UAE is a place of tolerance, co-existence and openness to other cultures. He noted that Shaikh Zayed established the UAE as a global model for tolerance, co-existence and cooperation, and was keen to inculcate these values among his people, who to this day continue to embody their meanings in every way, both within the UAE and beyond.
The UAE must lead the way for intellectual, cultural and media initiatives that furtherconsolidate the values tolerance and coexistence, opening up to cultures of the region and the world as a whole.
In July 2015, Shaikh Khalifa issued Federal Decree Law No. 02 of 2015 on Combating Discrimination and Hatred. The law aims to fight discrimination against individuals or groups based on religion, caste, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin.
Also, in 2016, the UAE Cabinet introduced the first post of the Minister of State for Tolerance. In the same year, the UAE Cabinet launched the National Tolerance Programme, to boost the values of tolerance and co-existence and to reject attitudes of discrimination and hatred. The UAE also established various centres to counter extremism, including the International Institute for Tolerance, Hedayah Centre, and Sawab Centre.
First in region
The country was recognised for its initiatives to advance tolerance and to counter terrorism and extremism in global indices. In 2016, the UAE ranked first regionally and third globally in the Tolerance Index of the 2016 Yearbook, issued by the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland.
Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said the decision to to proclaim 2019 as the year of tolerance reiterates the UAE’s genuine approach to promoting values of tolerance and peace around the world.
The UAE has become a global model of tolerance and co-existence among peoples, in which more than 200 nationalities live with dignity and respect, he said.
2019: Year of Tolerance
On Saturday, President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan announced that 2019 would be the ‘Year of Tolerance’ in the UAE.
The year will begin with the visit of Pope Francis who will hold a Papal Mass in Abu Dhabi in February, a landmark mass that is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of Catholics in the UAE during his visit to the GCC. Pope Francis will visit the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque to hold a private meeting with the Muslim Council of Elders.
Land of tolerance
The UAE is home to people from over 200 countries – representing a variety of religions, ethnicities and cultures – all living and working together in peace
In 2015, the Abu Dhabi government approved plans to build a Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi. BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, a non-prot social and religious Hindu organisation, will build and manage the temple. The temple, expected to be completed by 2020, will have seven towers representing the seven emirates in the UAE.
In 2016, the UAE became the only country to introduce a ministry and minister for tolerance. Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi was the first the Minister of State for Tolerance. In the 2017 Cabinet reshuffle, Shaikh Nahayan Bin Mubarak Al Nahayan was appointed as Cabinet member and Minister of Tolerance.
National Tolerance Programme Launched in 2016, the programme is implemented in collaboration with UAE federal and local entities under five main themes:
• Strengthen government's role as an incubator of tolerance
• Promote tolerance among young people and prevent them from fanaticism and extremism
• Integrate international efforts to promote tolerance and highlight the leading role of UAE in this area.
• The programme includes a number of initiatives, such as 'Tolerance Week', 'The UAE Tolerance Centre' and 'The Tolerance Responsibility Programme'.