ABU DHABI: On the occasion of her recent visit to Washington, DC to attend the Annual National Prayer Breakfast, UAE Minister of State for Tolerance Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi has written an OpEd for the Huffington Post discussing the UAE policy of promoting tolerance and fighting extremism.
“This year, more than ever, people from all over the world who attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC should continue their dialogue and together find ways to promote coexistence and acceptance – and counter the waves of division that are increasingly inciting hatred and extremism.
Extremism has no religion or nationality, and violent terrorist groups threaten the safety of all countries and people. Securing borders and strengthening immigration and refugee policies alone are not the answer. In fact, one way to defeat extremist ideologies is to promote greater interfaith dialogue at events like the National Prayer Breakfast, where I was pleased to take part, along with Muslim and Christian leaders from the UAE.
Facilitating dialogue that builds understanding between cultures is important. But governments, too, have a critical role to play. In the UAE, for example, new policies and initiatives are promoting greater understanding among all people and bringing cultures together.
Recently, I had the honour to be entrusted with our newly-established National Programme for Tolerance as Minister tasked with strengthening the government’s role as an “incubator” of tolerance, promoting tolerance, coexistence and respect for others throughout the UAE.
The UAE’s philosophy of acceptance is deeply rooted in our history and heritage. We have always been a gateway to the world, a hub for trade, culture and industry. The UAE is home to over 200 nationalities from almost every corner of the world, with 80 per cent of our population being expatriates. It fills me with pride to see people of many faiths and backgrounds coexisting peacefully.