Tolerance nourishes nations and individuals
Emirati society has maintained tolerance since its establishment, as mingling with other communities and cultures is an original part of its commercial culture
In June, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced its readiness to launch a charter for tolerance and coexistence, and a center for studies. Thus the national tolerance program presented by Sheikha Lubna al-Qasimi, minister of tolerance, was approved.
Big ideas start from small initiatives. During the past Eid al-Fitr, UAE Prime Minister and Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid noted the links between Eid and tolerance, as Eid involves greetings, financial contributions, checking on others and ending disputes.
Tolerance remains one of the most important concepts produced by the human mind. Philosophically, it is one of the selfless concepts as it is linked to contributing with others to build a less aggressive and less divisive reality.
One of the most significant philosophers to address the concept of tolerance was John Locke. In “A letter concerning toleration,” he wrote: “No private person has any right in any manner to prejudice another person in his civil enjoyments because he is of another church or religion. All the rights and franchises that belong to him as a man, or a denizen, are inviolably to be preserved to him.”
He added: “We must not content ourselves with the narrow measures of bare justice. Charity, bounty and liberality must be added to it. This the Gospel enjoins, this reason directs, and this that natural fellowship we are born into requires of us.” In other words, tolerance is a formula of relations between man and his surroundings - it is unfortunate when a society lacks this.
Mocking how someone is dressed or his or her religion, sect and culture must be stopped. It is important to have a social and official will to achieve this. It is impossible to make tolerance a major approach that governs society and its individuals unless by legal methods and a comprehensive institution with programs, projects, systems and an agenda for implementation.
Tolerance, as practiced in Europe for centuries now, provides social mannerisms that reflect on reality and can thus be seen in people’s daily lives and activity in society. Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre said: “I need the mediation of the other in order to be what I am.” Philosopher Emmanuel Levinas said: “The self is other than itself.”
Emirati society has maintained tolerance since its establishment, as mingling with other communities and cultures is an original part of its commercial culture.Turki Al-Dakhil
Tolerance is thus linked to altruism with others. Tolerance toward the self and taking it to the level of altruism grant it a social dimension, as one cannot but be tolerant if he or she wants to achieve a complete existence among individuals who form the society.
The UAE is fortunate to have a ministry of tolerance, and to have an official and legal approach toward creating a tolerant reality, classifying individuals’ rights and guarding their privacy. This has economic and political benefits.
However, Emirati society has maintained tolerance since its establishment, as mingling with other communities and cultures is an original part of its commercial culture. It is by tolerance that nations live and individuals’ characters flourish.
This article was first published in al-Bayan on Aug. 3, 2016.
Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.