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UAE champions fighting hatred, Muslim scholar says.

Summary: Calls for setting up an Islamic university to spread values of moderation

Samir Salama, Associate Editor

Abu Dhabi: A leading Muslim scholar praised the UAE as a leader in fighting hatred and for criminalising all forms of discrimination on the grounds of religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin.

"The UAE was the first Arab country to enact a law that criminalises the belittling [of] religions and all forms of discrimination on the grounds of religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin," Dr. Mohammad Al Bishari, Secretary-General of the European Islamic Conference, told the majlis of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Al Bishari also commended the UAE's leadership on its commitment to hold an international convention that criminalises electronic terror.

Shaikh Mohammad and President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon attended the lecture held at His Highness's Majlis at Al Bateen Palace in Abu Dhabi.

Dr. Al Bishari, who received the Order of King Abdullah 11 Ibn Al Hussain for Excellence of the First Class in 2016, said the UAE was the first Arab country to pass a law that criminalised belittling religions, praising the UAE's leadership on that front. He also praised the UAE for passing a legislation the criminalised electronic terror.

Dr. Al Bishari said there are 450 to 500 million Muslims who live in majority non-Muslim countries, including 200 million in India, nearly 50 million in Europe and 12 million in North America. He said such a situation requires a different set of rules and Islamic-based laws, something that had been recognised by Muslim scholars for hundreds of years.

He said that one of the issues that sowed the seeds of extremism is an idea that was promulgated in the middle of the 20th century which calls for Muslims to leave lands in which they form a minority to lands where the majority are Muslims. He said this was one of the reasons that drove some misguided Muslims into violent ideologies that saw the West or any other non-Muslim country as hostile.

"Muslims in Europe live generally in a state of security rather than conflict and any other form of existence which is otherwise is accidental," he said.

"Throughout history, extremist groups have appeared in different shapes and forms such as the Kharijite groups which are similar to Daesh. These groups share one thing which is that they operate across borders and do not recognise the sovereignty of the state," he said, adding that modern groups which share such an ideology include the Muslim Brotherhood, the Welayet faqih in Shia Islam (rule of religious elite), Al Qaida and Daesh.

The lecture was part of Majlis Mohammad Bin Zayed's Ramadan series of lectures, which are delivered by renowned scholars and thought leaders as well as senior officials.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:May 29, 2017
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