It is a value that the UAE has lived by since the Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, laid the foundation of the nation.
From hosting the first ever pope to visit the Arabian Peninsula to honouring champions and pioneers who had made a mark in promoting peace and harmony, the UAE has shown the world that it is, indeed, a land of tolerance.
In the country, tolerance is a heritage. It is a value that the UAE has lived by since the Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, laid the foundation of the nation based on love, unity and brotherhood.
He brought previously feuding tribes together – under one flag and in an environment where they supported each other.
As the UAE approaches its 48th National Day, Sheikh Zayed’s legacy of tolerance and equality lives on, carried forward with greater zeal by the country’s leaders and people, making the Emirates one of the top nations in the world.
Laws and initiatives were rolled out while global events and conferences were held – putting the spirit and the heritage of tolerance in action.
A Minister of Tolerance, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, has been appointed, and a National Tolerance Programme was launched. An anti-discrimination/anti-hatred law was also passed, on top of setting up centres to counter extremism.
In 2017, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, named a pedestrian bridge at the Dubai Canal as the ‘Tolerance Bridge’.
In the same year, a mosque in Abu Dhabi called Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Mosque in Al Mushrif was renamed ‘Mariam, Umm Eisa’ – Arabic for ‘Mary, the Mother of Jesus’.
Apart from instituting Mohammed Bin Rashid Tolerance Award to honour the champions of tolerance on a global level and launching the International Institute for Tolerance to promote the values among nations, the UAE also proclaimed 2019 as the Year of Tolerance, aiming to nurture the environment where more than 200 nationalities live in harmony.
This National Day, people of different faiths and nationalities hail how the UAE has followed in the footsteps of Sheikh Zayed and embraced its heritage of tolerance through and through.
STORIES OF TOLERANCE
Mahendra K Asher, businessman
“Having lived in the UAE since 1971, I have experienced tolerance in this country from the very beginning. Although I came to Dubai to earn and move to the US, the warmth and acceptance I received here was magnetic. I did manage to get my US green card in 1978 and migrated there but returned here five years later as we missed Dubai, its weather, its warmth and convenience. My wife loved it here and we would be closer to my ailing mother who was in Mumbai. I was able to be with my blind mother, who passed away here in Dubai as we were lucky to get her residence visa. I still remember, when I went to cancel her visa at the immigration office, the officer’s remarks soothed me. He said, your mother was like our family and she will go to Jannat (paradise) In shaa Allah.”
Aisha Williams, UK national
“Every year I’ve been in this amazing country has been a year of tolerance because I see such a beautiful mix of people here. I came to this country as a single mother, which is not something common, yet I have never been ostracised or treated badly. Also, I work in the automotive industry, which is predominantly a male domain, but I have managed to grow and do well here as everyone treats us women equally. I love this country and its patchwork of different cultures. I try every day to replicate that tolerance and educate my child on this, as that’s what this country has inspired us to do. Its lovely to see Emiratis speak to expats in their language such as Urdu, Hindi, Filipino, and English, showing how they have embraced the international community.”
Francisco Chacn, Ambassador of the Republic of Costa Rica to the UAE
“Costa Rican residents of the UAE recognise the country’s culture of tolerance shown in opportunities, education, business, work, innovation, lifestyle, activities, among others. Costa Ricans who live here experience the kindness and hospitality of the Emirati people. We came here to build our future and we appreciate that tolerance is being promoted as an important society value. We are deeply respected and loved by the people of the UAE and we thank the opportunity of being residents.”
Maitha Al Marri, lead project engineer at Bee’ah
“As a young Emirati woman, I am proud of the journey that the UAE has been on over the past 48 years, and the remarkable achievements we have made under the guidance of our Rulers. The success of our nation lies in the strength of our visionary leaders, and their willingness to embrace people from all walks of life. As one of the first Emirati women in the waste-to-energy industry, I am grateful to my country for nurturing our skills and for allowing us to aspire beyond what’s possible.”
Neil Thomson, parishioner and Holy Rock Night producer of St Francis of Assisi Church
“One example of the UAE’s religious tolerance is that the country is home to over 200 nationalities and more than 40 churches of different Christian denominations, a Sikh temple, and a number of Hindu temples. With people of so many nationalities coexisting in unity, it is not uncommon to see groups of the expatriate community celebrating the values of giving and tolerance together. As a sign of appreciation and gratitude to the UAE, we at the Church of St Francis of Assisi, Jebel Ali, will also do just that on this November 28. Children and adults of different cultures will come together to sing and celebrate the Year of Tolerance, hoping to communicate a message of peace, unity, coexistence and hope to all.”
Kamal Vachani, group director, Al Maya Group
We are living in a country where over 200 nationalities are living together in peace and harmony. We are proud and privileged to be living in the UAE. We salute the vision of Rulers who have turned the UAE into a world-class place to live in. The UAE has seen amazing development since it came into being, thanks to the vision of its leaders, who have consistently been the driving force behind the innovation and forward-looking approach taken by the country.
Making Dubai the region’s hub for finance, trade, commerce, logistics and aviation in a span of a couple of decades is the result of untiring efforts of this great country, where the citizens and expatriates enjoy one of the best qualities of life one can imagine.”
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