The United Arab Emirates is serious about promoting tolerance. In October, the country's minister of state for tolerance Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi announced the country's plans to launch the world’s first-ever Tolerance Charter.
The charter boosts the government's role as an 'incubator' for tolerance, promotes tolerance among youth, bolsters science and culture, integrates international frameworks to spread tolerance among other efforts.
Called the UAE Charter of Tolerance, Coexistence and Peace, the initiative will serve as the launchpad for coordinating and energizing efforts to accomplish the nation's vision of idealistic vision.
The UAE is home to expats representing some 200 countries making tolerance and coexistence key.
But, the charter isn't the first step the UAE has taken to promote these values. It might instead be seen as the culmination of years of effort.
Here are 6 ways that the nation has been working to achieve these goals.
1. Appointment of the world's first-ever minister of tolerance
In February, Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi was appointed as the UAE's Minister of State for Tolerance, hailed as a world first.
"Tolerance is acceptance – accepting and rejoicing differences. We have to be interactive with the community. It is a challenging job, but an exciting ministry. Hopefully we will see great results," Shaikha Lubna said after her appointment .
2. A National Tolerance Day
Along with the charter announced this week, Shaikha Lubna has called on the nation to celebrate an International Day for Tolerance on Nov. 16. This emphasizes the nation's goal of working to ensure that the entire nation recognizes the values of peace and coexistence.
3. Visit to the Vatican
In September, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the armed forces, visited Prope Francis at the Vatican. This followed an invitation earlier in the year Sheikh Mohammed extended to the pope to visit the UAE.
Such a high profile visit between an influential Muslim leader and the global leader of the Catholic Church sends a strong message of tolerance and coexistence, particularly at a time when Islamophobia has risen significantly in the west.
"We are working together on promoting and enabling, for peace and stability to prevail throughout the world," Sheikh Moahmmed said following the meeting.
4. Launch of the National Tolerance Program
Launched as a key part of the UAE Vision 2021 in June, the program involves collaborating with local and federal groups under five main themes: strengthening the government’s role as an "incubator" for tolerance, consolidating the family’s role in nation building, promoting tolerance among youth and steering them away from extremism, enriching scientific and cultural content and integrating international efforts to promote tolerance, according to Gulf News .
5. UAE leaders consistently condemn extremism
The leaders of the UAE have vocally and consistently criticized extremist groups, highlighting peaceful values of Islam that fundamentalist groups fly in the face of.