COPENHAGEN, 28th May, 2016 (WAM) — The United Arab Emirates has adopted a comprehensive vision for combating extremism and terrorism, taking into account the intellectual and cultural dimensions feeding them, said Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance.

In a speech she gave on behalf of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, on Friday at the session of the 4th Interfaith Dialogue Conference in Copenhagen, Sheikha Lubna lauded the conference’s main theme of confronting extremism, saying that extremism is the main source of terrorism.

“Extremism feeds terrorism, providing it with necessary elements. It considers difference as a justification to reject, degrade and target others,” she added.

Sheikha Lubna said the UAE strongly believed that countering extremism and terrorism requires a concerted international effort, a societal enlightenment and an ongoing dialogue about the need to respect freedom of belief, to appreciate diversity and to step up interaction to eliminate misconceptions.

She went on to say that the UAE adopted legislation 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 Hedaya Centre, the first-ever international Centre dedicated to countering violent extremism.

In 2015, the UAE also enacted anti-discriminatory law, which criminalises any acts that stoke religious hatred and insult religions through any form of expression.

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, headed by the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Dr. Ahmad Al Tayyib, and by prominent scholar Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, brings together a group of distinguished Islamic scholars and experts known for their wisdom, sense of justice, independence and moderation.

Sheikha Lubna said the UAE established, in collaboration with the US, the Sawab Centre to combat extremist messages through social media.