Leading by example - GulfToday

Leading by example

UAE Tolerance

UAE’s diversity and acceptance has made the nation an oasis of tolerance, coexistence and peace. WAM

The UAE is a perfect model of tolerance and one of the most tolerant countries in the region. It is an ideal example that highlights the essence of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development in toto (“Tolerance and coexistence are characteristics of UAE: Nahyan,” May 21, Gulf Today).

As the minister of tolerance rightly pointed out, UAE’s diversity and acceptance has made the nation an oasis of tolerance, coexistence and peace. Expats like me have been enjoying the generous spirit of the Emirati culture. The government’s commitment to inclusion of all faiths and openness within its borders is a stellar example of what constitutes wise leadership.

A few months back the UAE gave me and my Christian brethren an opportunity to receive blessings from His Holiness Pope Francis. I never imagined something like this would happen in a Muslim nation.  For me the Papal mass, which was attended by over 180,000 people, at the Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi was a once in a lifetime opportunity. And I am very grateful to UAE for that.

Besides that I greatly admire the leadership of the country for its attempts towards bridging gaps between various faiths. For example during the Papal visit the Human Fraternity Document was signed between the Pope and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar. Pro-active gestures like these go a long way in promoting communal harmony and uniting mankind, thereby leading to stability and world peace.

UAE is one of the few places in the region where we see the temple, gurudwara, church and the mosque in close proximity to each other, as close as faithfuls of the respective faiths.  This harmonious coexistence is the cynosure of all eyes. It is my privilege to be living in this tolerant nation.

Ricardo Paes
By email