The UAE Has Just Announced That 2019 Will Be Its “Year Of Tolerance”

As an extension of 2018, which was known across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as The Year of Zayed, the country has just declared that 2019 will officially be known as the Year of Tolerance. According to Emirates Woman, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, ruler of the UAE, made the announcement, explaining that the country upholds “the values of tolerance and co-existence that the late leader Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan worked to instill in the people of UAE.”

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, took to Twitter to comment on the announcement, writing: “Dear brothers and sisters, the President… has issued a directive to announce 2019 as the Year of Tolerance in the UAE, with the aim of solidifying the international role that the country plays as the capital of co-existence and meeting of civilisations.”

According to the government’s official website, the move to mark the upcoming year as one of tolerance is “a virtue and an intrinsic part of the Islamic culture. It is observed at all levels: individual, organisational and national. With more than 200 nationalities living peacefully and successfully in the UAE, the UAE society has been an undisputed example of being a tolerant and inclusive country. Now, the Federal Government is keen to promote acceptance and understanding as core values of the society. As a practical application of the principle of tolerance, H. H. Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, ordered renaming the Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Mosque in Al Mushrif, Abu Dhabi, to 'Mariam, Umm Eisa’ — Arabic for ‘Mary, the mother of Jesus’.”

According to reports, The Year of Tolerance will focus on five main pillars: 1) Deepening the values of tolerance and co-existence among cultures and peoples by concentrating on teaching the youth the values of tolerance; 2) 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; 3) Enacting multiple cultural programmes and contributions to build tolerant communities; 4) Legislative and policy-oriented objectives that contribute mandating cultural and religious tolerance, via dialogue; 5) And promoting tolerance and co-existence via targeted media initiatives and projects.

In 2016, the UAE became the only country in the world to establish a Ministry of Tolerance, appointing Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi as its first Minister of State for Tolerance and, in 2017, HE Shaikh Nahayan Bin Mubarak Al Nahayan. In 2019, Pope Francis is expected to hold a Papal Mass in Abu Dhabi in February, which is set to draw in the thousands of Catholics in the UAE. This will be the Pope’s first visit to the region, where he will also meet with the Muslim Council of Elders at the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

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