Jaber Mohamed Al Shuaibi, Emirati Researcher in Geopolitical Issues

October 28th, 2020

The honorable occasion of the birthday of the prophet, which is tomorrow, which is the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, on the 12th of Rabi’ al-Awwal of every Hijri year, in which Muslims renew their love to him and the importance of following him in qualities of compassion, forbearance, humility, generosity, and other great morals, is an opportunity that the humanity needs right now to get rid of the damages of hatred, extremism, and rejecting others. The message of the prophet confirmed the logic of good for all and developing the earth, brotherhood between humans, fraternity, and the establishment of noble morals that preserve societies and ensure the integration of the individual into his social environment, in a positive spirit, to ensure stability, and the sustainability of solidarity and cooperation.

Religions have always encouraged the preservation of rights of the minorities and regulation of relations between followers of religions according to the basis of mutual respect, which is the real tolerance that provides an opportunity for human gathering between humans regardless of beliefs, sects, and creeds.

Respect of religious symbols is an important step for tolerance of religions and I believe that the existence of the culture of tolerance, that allows for getting to know other religions, is a necessary request for followers of every religion to know the specialty of other religions and their symbols so that the ignorance of this information is not a reason for the disturbance of the relation between followers of religions or to use the lack of such awareness in sowing discord within societies and spreading the seeds of hatred and allowing space for extremists to wander in.

The rational dialogue through social media. What proves that the attempt to retreat from a position is a confirmation that the right of free expression is not about degrading human values, ridiculing and offending the beliefs of others, or saying that this issue is a global debate that crosses borders, countries, and cultures because the accurate balance between the freedom of expression and rights of others in preserving their religious feelings will allow the world to avoid promoting extremism and violence that have brought great tragedies to humanity.

Respecting religions and protection of their symbols from contempt is an established concept in the state of the United Arab Emirates, and there is clear evidence for that which is the Decree-Law (No. 2 of 2015) regarding fighting discrimination and hatred. The decree-law was issued by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the State, may God protect him, which criminalizes acts associated with defamation of religions and their sanctities. That is in addition to other initiatives, of which the publication of 2019, Year of Tolerance in the United Arab Emirates, and signing the “Document on Human Fraternity” that made the Emirati community the most communities in the world accepting the other and respecting religious and cultural privacy and attracting living of more than 200 nationalities in complete peace and harmony. It also contributed to support of freedom of expression and prevention of the realization of the opportunism of political Islam, which seeks to fuel extremism and terrorism around the world.

Will the countries of the world follow the state of the United Arab Emirates and focus on the activation of Decision No. 65/224 concerning combating defamation of religions issued by the sixty-fifth session of the United Nations General Assembly on April 11th, 2011? or will there remain those who manipulate the definition of the concept of “freedom of expression” to use it according to their whims and circumstances, violating all human values and the logic of coexistence between peoples and cultures? Happy New Year.