Addressing Remembrance Day service, Nahyan stresses UAE’s ‘commitment to tolerance for all’


ABU DHABI, 11th November, 2019 (WAM) -- The creation of a Ministry of Tolerance in the United Arab Emirates represents a "commitment to tolerance for all, regardless of gender, age, nationality, religion, culture, language, ability, or status in life," Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, said last night.

In a speech to the annual Remembrance Day service at the capital’s St. Andrew’s Church, Sheikh Nahyan added, "Tolerance in the UAE involves living peacefully with others and respecting diverse cultures and beliefs. In the UAE, we view ourselves as members of one diverse human society working together to eradicate extremism, and to ensure peace, dignity and prosperity for all."

The speech was delivered on his behalf by his son, Sheikh Mohammed bin Nahyan Al Nahyan.

His message to the service, Sheikh Nahyan said, was delivered "first and foremost, out of sincere respect for those who gave their lives in pursuit of peace. A peace, not just for their own country, but for the whole world. As troops from across continents stood shoulder to shoulder in service, we remember their sacrifice that helped sow the seeds for a feeling of peace and harmony that we enjoy today, and must do all we can to uphold together."

The Remembrance Day service is celebrated each year on the Sunday nearest to 11th November 1918, the day on which the guns fell silent at the end of the First World War. It commemorates all those who died in that conflict, and subsequent conflicts, Sheikh Nahyan used his remarks to deliver a strong call for a tolerance of diversity, one of the key messages of his Ministry.

"Remembrance belongs to all of us," he said. "On Remembrance Day, we remember that our strength comes from our diversity. We remember the sacrifices of people of all backgrounds for people of all backgrounds. As we reflect, we see that we have more in common than not. The shared values that all those who served and gave their lives for – freedom and respect for others – are values that people of all faiths believe in, have shaped the places we live in today. In their cooperation, they found community and victory. And we desire to continue to do the same."

"In every act of remembrance," Sheikh Nahyan said, "we honour the memory of the fallen and pledge to care for the living. If our past generations could give their lives, we can also move away from politics of hatred and division to the values of respect and acceptance – so that we can bequeath a more peaceful world to our future generations. This is a timely and powerful moment, where we thank those who laid down their lives for us, to better understand our own shared values across our diverse global communities. Those values hold us together, united against those who seek to create divisions in our world. Now, more than ever, we must understand the critical importance of people’s contributions from across the globe to pursue peace."

Noting that the UAE is the only country in the world to have a Ministry of Tolerance, he added "Through this unique ministry, we confidently and proudly declare that tolerant behavior is a hallmark of Islam. We proclaim that Islam respects free thought and that Islam promotes all initiatives launched in the service of peace and prosperity. We also declare our commitment to tolerance for all, regardless of gender, age, nationality, religion, culture, language, ability, or status in life. Tolerance in the UAE involves living peacefully with others and respecting diverse cultures and beliefs. In the UAE, we view ourselves as members of one diverse human society working together to eradicate extremism, and to ensure peace, dignity and prosperity for all."

He added that his participation in the event "is a recognition of the common ground that exists among all religions, namely that all religions provide people comfort, cultural unity, and a way to understand some unfathomable realities that all religions provide people hope and inspiration in a complex and difficult world."

The service, conducted by the Reverend Canon Andrew Thompson, also included readings from the Bible by the British Ambassador, Patrick Moody, and others.

It was attended by diplomats, military attaches, Scout and Guides groups and members of the diverse Christian community in Abu Dhabi.

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WAM/Rola Alghoul/Esraa Ismail