Dubai: The elevated level of tolerance and peace found in the UAE has made the country a role model for other Arab nations, said a top official.
Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minster of State for Tolerance, referred to Arab Youth Survey while speaking at the main session on the second day of the Arab Media Forum (AMF), pointing out that a large number of Arab youth selected the UAE as the country that offers young people the “Arab Dream”. Detailed findings of the Arab Youth Survey will be released on Wednesday.
Discussing the true impact of tolerance on a society during the session ‘Tolerance … promoting dialogue,’ Shaikha Lubna pointed out the “negative tone and individualistic language” being adopted around the world is undermining the true values of communities.
She further highlighted the importance of a Ministry of Tolerance and a national tolerance programme to ensure the peaceful coexistence of over 200 nationalities in the UAE.
“When Dubai’s Ruler (His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai) instructed the establishment of the Ministry of Tolerance, he said there was a need for intellectual development to ensure that the current peaceful coexistence of our population continues for future generations,” she said.
In order to achieve that goal, which focuses on youth, Shaikha Lubna referred to the roles of the Ministry of Tolerance, Mistry of Happiness and Ministry of Youth.
“To achieve this in the next 20 years, we have placed a young minister, Shamma Suhail Faris Al Mazroui, Minister of State for Youth, who speaks the language of youth to ensure they have bright futures in the UAE,” she said.
Shaikh Lubna also stated that through the Ministry of Tolerance, an institutionalised framework for the concept of peaceful coexistence and tolerance is put in place for the UAE’s diverse population.
She referred to the impact of globalisation and technological developments on societies, saying these challenges are faced by countries across the world, and not limited to specific Arab countries.
“Technological developments such as artificial intelligence, while great, has had a negative impact on societies by decreasing employment opportunities causing people to have a negative outlook at their governments,” said Shaikha Lubna.
She added that to safeguard happiness and tolerance in the UAE, the government has ensured that expats are able to live similar lifestyles to that back in their home countries in a safe and secure environment. Just the same, international schools and universities are available, while residents of different faiths have the freedom of worship.
“We have several churches across the country, with one in Sir Bani Yas dating back to before the UAE’s union, and temples for Hindus and Sikhs across the country. These continue to make the UAE a favourable place to reside in for people worldwide,” said Shaikha Lubna.
The minister also touched upon the importance of integrating the values of Islam in the UAE’s development process, pointing out that only by going back to the fundamental values of religion can a civilised dialogue take place.
“The concept of divine religions underscores human values and what we see currently is the erosion of these values that has resulted in people having a negative rhetoric and outlook. Religion is based on values and ethics, and no religion boosts hatred,” said Shaikha Lubna.
She also pointed out that the 2015 law against discrimination and hatred, which is being implemented, also extends to posts and comments on social media.
“The law also punishes residents who are spreading messages of hate and discrimination on various social media channels,” she commented.
Emphasising the role of media in disseminating the message of tolerance, Shaikha Lubna called on journalists to base their work on values of honesty, truth and respect.
“Every country has its own perspective of democracy. However, the key values we’ve been raised on are tolerance and respect, and this is what generates national unity,” she concluded.