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Al Zaabi: "UAE spared no effort in combating terrorism and extremism in all manifestations"

posted on 10/04/2016: 1718 views

GENEVA: A delegation from the United Arab Emirates, headed by Permanent Representative to the UN and other international organisations in Geneva Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, has attended the UN's Geneva Conference on Preventing Violent Extremism, held here on 7th and 8th April.

The conference is being attended by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter.

In a statement delivered yesterday before the conference, Al Zaabi said the UAE spared no effort in combating terrorism and extremism in all manifestations.

"Since its establishment, the UAE has been in the forefront of states that adopted a comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism and extremism through three main dimensions: Legislative, Religious and Cultural, and Media and Social Work," he said.

He went on to say that the UAE adopted legislations on combating violent extremism and terrorism, including law no. 1 of 2004 on combating terrorist crimes, the federal law no. 39 of 2006 on international judicial cooperation and criminal assistance and federal law no. 7 of 2015 on establishing the Abu Dhabi-based Hedayah Centre, the first-ever international centre dedicated to countering violent extremism.

Hedayah Centre was created in response to the growing desire from the members of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum (GCTF) and the wider international community for the establishment of an independent, multilateral centre devoted to Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) in all of its forms and manifestations. During the ministerial-level launch of the GCTF in New York in September 2011, the UAE offered to serve as the host of Hedayah.

He added that the latest legislative and legal measures, aimed at strengthening the fight against the phenomenon of extremism and terrorism, were adopted when President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued a decree that criminalises any related acts which lead to contempt of religion and its holy concepts, such as fight against all forms of discrimination, rejection of hate speech and discrimination between individuals or groups on the basis of religion, doctrine or denomination or sect, race, colour or ethnic origin, as well as fight against the exploitation of religion.

It also stipulates application of deterrent penalties for association with individuals calling for contempt of religion and discrimination or provoking hate speech. The penalty would include imprisonment and AED1 million fine for extending financial support to criminal acts, in accordance with provisions of the law.

Referring to the religious and cultural side, Al Zaabi confirmed that the UAE has, particularly through the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (GAIAE), instilled values of moderation, coexistence and tolerance in the community, based on the fact that they are the main bulwark against extremism that lurks in Arab and Islamic communities.

He re-affirmed that it also contributed towards enhancing religious awareness and strengthening Islamic culture by supporting constructive efforts.

Such efforts include, most notably, reforming the religious discourse and advocating return to the tolerant image of Islam to address extremism and militancy tendencies that some are trying to impose on the religious discourse.

In this context, Al Zaabi added that the authority is keen on organising lectures and forums in various institutions in the society which present the true image of Islam, away from radicalism and extremism. He also noted the opportunity that development programme for Friday sermon presents as it can result in enrichment of speeches with new ideas through mail or website of various bodies.

Al Zaabi also stressed the UAE's keenness on supporting moderation and religious institutions in the Arab and Islamic worlds, especially, "Al-Azhar Al Sharif." The GAIAE also sponsors the training programme of Afghans scholars, in co-operation with the Zayed House for Islamic Culture Centre and Hedayah Centre for Countering Violent Extremism.

He added that the country established the Abu Dhabi-based Muslim Council of Elders in 2014 which seeks to promote peace in Muslim societies and consolidates the values and principles of Islam, a religion far removed from extremism and violence. The council brings together a group of distinguished Islamic scholars and experts known for their wisdom, sense of justice, independence and moderation.

Al Zaabi said the UAE is adopting a number of strategic initiatives to employ social networks in combating terrorism and extremism, central to which is the initiative for a Sawab Centre, in partnership with the United States, to harness all means to correct erroneous ideologies and to provide wider space to moderate voices, in line with the international efforts to fight Daesh terrorist group. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


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