Arab League chief: Combat hate by teaching children inclusivity

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit. (AP)
Updated 04 February 2019

Arab League chief: Combat hate by teaching children inclusivity

  • Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit spoke during the Human Fraternity Conference in Abu Dhabi on Sunday
  • The conference marked the start of the UAE’s “Year of Tolerance” celebration

ABU DHABI: The growing level of intolerance in the world needs to be combatted by teaching children to be more inclusive, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Sunday.

Speaking at the Human Fraternity Conference in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, Aboul Gheit said the conference was happening “in the right place at the right time.”

He added: “There is no more important value today than tolerance, as sectarianism and racism rear their ugly heads all over the world.”

Extremism and hatred are expressed mostly through religion and politics, resulting in wars that have “nothing to do with religion,” he said.

Aboul Gheit suggested introducing the concept of tolerance in school curriculums. “We must grow up learning about and from other religions and faiths to raise our understanding,” he said.

The Human Fraternity Conference marks the start of the UAE’s “Year of Tolerance,” which is aimed at promoting dialogue between nations and faiths.

The visit by Pope Francis, who arrived in Abu Dhabi on Sunday night, is the first by a pontiff in the Arabian Peninsula.

In his opening remarks, Emirati Minister of Tolerance Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al-Nahyan said the pope’s involvement in the conference was a true reflection of the “power of tolerance and human fraternity.”

Al-Nayhan added: “It is my aspiration that this conference and its outcomes will be known as a landmark event improving global relations.” 

The pope and Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmad El-Tayeb “are global forces for compassion and peace,” said Al-Nahyan. 

“Their participation in this conference speaks eloquently on the power of tolerance and human fraternity.”

He said the conference was a multicultural event that encouraged compassion, respect and understanding among different communities, cultures and religions.

“The gathering enables us to counter extremism, prejudice, hate, aggression, greed and oppression that violate the very idea of human fraternity,” he added.

It is necessary to combat “the destructive forces of extremism, terrorism, poverty, degradation of women, environmental abuse, illiteracy and prejudice,” Al-Nahyan said.

Speaking at a press conference later, Dr. Sultan Faisal Al-Remeithi, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Elders, said the event included more than 10 religious sects.

“It (the conference) carries a real message about peace in the world by introducing a concept that all of us are keen to implement,” he said.

The pope’s visit falls under the UAE’s strategy of being a country that hosts 200 nationalities and a multitude of faiths and beliefs, Al-Remeithi added.


Jordan criticizes Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque changes

Updated 56 min 26 sec ago

Jordan criticizes Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque changes

  • Palestinians welcomed the Jordanian position but expressed concerns over a decline of support for Amman’s custodianship of the holy places at Al-Aqsa

AMMAN: Jordan has stepped up its diplomatic pressure on Israel, demanding that they do not change the status quo at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Zaid Lozi, director-general of Jordan’s Foreign Ministry, summoned Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Amir Weissbrod to protest Israel’s actions in Jerusalem.

According to Petra News, Lozi told the envoy that recent remarks by Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Ardan over changing the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque are unacceptable. Lozi added that the mosque is a place of worship for Muslims only.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi addressed a group of EU ambassadors in Amman and “stressed the urgency of effective international steps against Israel’s violations of Holy Sites in occupied Jerusalem.”

Safadi told Arab News that the situation in Jerusalem is challenging and must be addressed. He said that he will present a detailed report on Jordan’s position to Parliament on Monday.

The ministry denounced the Israeli authorities’ closure of the mosque’s gates and demanded that Israel respects its obligations in accordance with international humanitarian law.

HIGHLIGHT

• Muslims insist that all 144,000 square meters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are a single unit that has belonged to them for 11 centuries.

Hatem Abdel Qader, a member of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, told Arab News that Israeli authorities had been attempting to enforce major changes at the mosque.

“Security forces barged into the mosque yesterday. They went to the Bab Al-Rahmeh Mosque where they confiscated carpets and the closet where shoes are kept.”

Jordan’s diplomatic statements follow comments by Ardan, who said that Israel is disappointed with the current state of affairs at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

According to Israeli officials, the mosque area is sovereign Israeli territory, despite it being administered by Jordan. Muslims insist that all 144,000 square meters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are a single unit that has belonged to them for 11 centuries.

Qader said that Palestinians welcomed the Jordanian position but expressed concerns over a decline of support for Amman’s custodianship of the holy places at Al-Aqsa.

“There appears to have been a gradual deterioration of Arab and Islamic support to Jordan. It surprises me that Muslims have been quiet, perhaps they see an advantage if Jordan’s role is diminished? If true, this would be dangerous.”

Qader, a former minister in the Palestinian government and a current member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, told Arab News that Jordan’s position “guarantees continuation of the status quo.”