Your country has so creatively managed the education of its youth, tended to the needs and aspirations of its communities, and engaged in constructive dialogue with all elements of its diverse population, and with countries around the world. We in the UAE are proud to call Pakistan our brother and our friend, a brother and a friend with whom we have enjoyed a long, harmonious, and productive relationship.
In combining your celebration of Pakistan’s National Day with our celebrations of the Year of Tolerance in the UAE, you are, in fact, celebrating the values and principles that unite the peoples of Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates. Together, we regard all human beings as free and equal in dignity and rights. We are committed to engaging people different from ourselves in useful conversation, and to value other people by their actions, not their nationality, religion, ethnicity, gender, or culture.
Your decision to celebrate the National Day of Pakistan together with our Year of Tolerance reminds us also that the Pakistanis living and working in the UAE have adopted the spirit of tolerance so characteristic of our nation’s founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. This same spirit likewise marks the leadership of His Highness the President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and is readily observed in the actions of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, and of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. Sheikh Zayed’s legacy of tolerance has enriched us all and pointed us toward the creation of a genuinely pluralistic global society.
Of course, the most prominent example of a spirit of tolerance in the UAE, was the recent visit to the United Arab Emirates by both Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed Al Tayeb. Their visit was a celebration of the value of dialogue among peoples of different religions and beliefs. They met with representatives of other religions to focus attention on promoting human fraternity around the globe. Their visit was a clear demonstration of the UAE’s commitment to religious, social and economic diversity. Pope Francis and Imam Ahmad El Tayeb jointly sent an important message to the world from Abu Dhabi. The message is: The UAE is a country of peace – a country that promotes tolerance and fights intolerance – a country committed to achieving a peaceful pluralistic global society. The message also signifies that all human beings must work diligently together in order to build a peaceful world, a safe world, and a world that is prosperous for all people everywhere.
The visit of both the Pope and the Grand Imam is a great tribute to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, who worked tirelessly to make their visits possible.
My Brothers and Friends:
The Ministry of Tolerance in the United Arab Emirates has articulated the following characteristics of tolerance to guide its work.
1. Tolerance requires a respect for diversity and difference.
2. Tolerance encourages compassion.
3. Tolerance empowers individuals to live by the Golden Rule: “Love for your brother what you love for yourself”
4. Tolerance enables open, honest, and confident dialogue among people who differ from one another.
5. Tolerance is essential to conflict resolution.
6. Tolerance requires opposing social injustice and embracing the highest standards of values and ethics.
7. Tolerance enables the creation of productive teams in the workplace and in communities.
8. Tolerance fosters social and economic development and a civil society.
We also believe that ingrained tolerance is crucial to preventing susceptible young people from being drawn to violent extremism. My ministry focuses its efforts on promoting the virtues of tolerance, equipping people with the knowledge and skills to live tolerant lives, and promoting positive acts of tolerance towards others. Such visible acts of tolerance that are reflections of a person’s moral character are especially important in the diverse national society that the leaders and people of the UAE have created and cherish.
And in this context, I admire your initiative in establishing the Pakistan Medical Center. I commend the spirit of tolerance that will be at the heart of its operations. The new not-for-profit Medical Center will welcome all people who seek medical help, irrespective of their nationality, ethnicity, religious or philosophical beliefs, gender, political views, economic status, or age. Medical staff at the center will be dedicated to treat each person in a humane and dignified way, ensuring that they receive the medical care they need and at the highest possible level of quality. I thank all of you for this important initiative and I wish for the Center great success.
The decisions of the United Arab Emirates government to establish a Ministry of Tolerance, and to declare 2019 as the Year of Tolerance are important signals to the world that the task of achieving and sustaining tolerance requires hard work, cooperation and commitment from individuals, organizations, schools and universities, business enterprises, and governments. It also requires international cooperation, coordination, encouragement and support.
The expatriate communities in the UAE, which include a wide and diverse group of business leaders and entrepreneurs, are vital to the ongoing tolerant and peaceful prosperity that we all share. We are all in this together. My ministry stands ready to work with all of you to promote and embed tolerance as a natural way of living and working in the UAE and beyond its borders.
I am confident that all of you in the Pakistani community will help us promote the values of tolerance, compassion, and dialogue, regionally and globally. Your commitment and leadership will help make our world better for those who are disadvantaged and mistreated in any way. The future for a peaceful and harmonious global society can be enhanced by your actions.
Thank you for allowing me to join you in celebrating the National Day of Pakistan. I invite you to join me in wishing a prosperous future for Pakistan and its people. I am confident the relations of brotherhood, friendship and cooperation between our two countries will continue to grow, and that Pakistan and the UAE will continue to work together for common and shared goals.
I wish you and all the people of Pakistan prosperity and continued well-being in the years to come.
My best wishes to all of you. I hope you enjoy the evening!