ABU DHABI, Values of tolerance continued to dominate public events and activities in the UAE during the month of August, as part of the UAE’s relentless efforts to promote cross cultural and religious interactions, as well as dialogue and peaceful coexistence, especially during the ‘Year of Tolerance’.
In a gesture to bring joy to families of those behind the bars, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, has ordered the release of 669 prisoners of various nationalities on the occasion of Eid Al Adha.
Sheikh Khalifa has also pledged to settle the financial obligations of the released prisoners. The noble gesture comes within the framework of the President’s keenness to give them a chance to start a new life and alleviate the suffering of their families.
The President’s decision was followed by similar pardons by Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates.
Globally, the UAE Embassy in Lebanon has overseen the distribution of sacrificial meat and Eid clothing, provided by a number of UAE charities, including the Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation,Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Establishment, Emirates Red Crescent, Sharjah Charity International and Human Appeal International.
The move benefited 24,000 Syrian and Palestinian refugees and Lebanese internally displaced persons.
Last month also witnessed the formation of a higher committee in Abu Dhabi to implement the ”Human Fraternity Document’, signed by Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Dr Ahmed el-Tayyeb, in the UAE capital last February. The committee comprises of religious figures, intellectuals and media personalities.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said that the formation of the committee will help implement the shared vision of developing initiatives that foster tolerance, cooperation and coexistence. The UAE supports all efforts that promote peace and spread the principles of fraternity and peaceful coexistence worldwide, His Highness added.
The committee is tasked with developing a framework to ensure the objectives of the ”Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” are realised. It will also prepare the necessary plans to implement the document, follow up on its implementation at regional and international levels, and hold meetings with religious leaders, heads of international organisations and others to support and spread the ideas behind the historic document.
The higher committee will also urge legislative authorities to adhere to the provisions of the document in national legislation so as to instil the values of mutual respect and coexistence. It will also supervise the Abrahamic Family House. The committee can rope in new members by mutual agreement.
The signing of the Human Fraternity Document demonstrated the UAE’s commitment to promoting interfaith dialogue and shared values that include tolerance and peaceful coexistence among people of all religions and faiths.
The announcement has drawn positive reactions and appreciations from international religious leaders. Pope Francis welcomed the formation of the committee and expressed his appreciation for the United Arab Emirates to promote the ideals contained in the document.
The Pope encouraged the committee’s work and thanked the UAE for it “concrete commitment shown on behalf of human fraternity”. He also expressed hope that similar initiatives may spring up in other parts of the world.
Meanwhile, Dr. Sheikh Ahmed el Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders, called the announcement “a serious step” towards achieving the objectives of the “first-of-its-kind in our modern history” document.
Dr. el Tayyeb also stressed that establishing this committee serves the crucial goal of achieving solidarity, unity, coexistence, brotherhood and tolerance throughout the world.
“The spread of this document’s principles and its implementation will definitely go a long way in achieving security and stability all over the world,” the grand imam said.
Furthermore, the Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination, ZHO, and the Muslims Council of Elders have announced they will join forces to raise awareness among people of determination about the Human Fraternity Document, through the translation of the document into Arabic and English Braille to serve the visually-impaired, and also convert into sign language-recorded texts in cooperation with the UAE Deaf Association.
The ZHO People of Determination plan to translate the document into Arabic and English Braille and print 100 copies to spread the document’s mission, which includes calling for tolerance, cooperation and co-existence among all segments of society, including People of Determination (persons with disabilities).
On 28th August, the UAE marked Emirati Women’s Day under the theme ”Women are Icons of Tolerance”. Under the directives of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, several events were held across the nation to highlight and recognise the role of women in promoting values of tolerance among their families and communities.
To mark World Humanitarian Day on 19th August, the UAE Water Aid Foundation, Suqia, under the umbrella of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, announced that by the end of 2018, Suqia’s projects had helped over 9 million people in 34 countries, aligning with the goals and themes of the day.
The UAE stands out due to its philanthropic approach and has become one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance in the world, as improving the lives of the less fortunate is a key objective of the UAE’s foreign aid policy.
Suqia pledged to continue its efforts in providing safe drinking water to communities suffering from water scarcity and pollution, in cooperation with the relevant local and international organisations.
The UAE ended the month with its participation in the Aqdar World Summit, in Moscow, Russia, from 29th August to 1st September 2019. The event was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, under the theme “Global Empowerment of Communities: Experiences and Lessons learned.”
Twelve high-profile Emirati officials, including eight ministers, highlighted various topics related to human empowerment in various fields including education, culture and technology.
Source: Emirates News Agency