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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 15 October 2018

Emirati officer who helped stranded Syrian family presented with Tolerance Award

Emirati officer Salem Al Badwawi was awarded the accolade a week after he was praised by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid for his help on Twitter

Dr Hamad Al Shaibani, director general of the International Institute for Tolerance, presents Salem Al Badwawi the first Tolerance Award on Monday. Courtesy The International Institute for Tolerance
Dr Hamad Al Shaibani, director general of the International Institute for Tolerance, presents Salem Al Badwawi the first Tolerance Award on Monday. Courtesy The International Institute for Tolerance

A customs officer who helped a Syrian family after they became stranded on the UAE border with Oman has been presented with the first Tolerance Award.

Emirati officer Salem Al Badwawi was awarded the accolade a week after he was praised for his actions by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid on Twitter.

The Vice President and Ruler of Dubai commended Mr Al Badwawi, calling him a patriot and a shining example of Emirati generosity as he shared a video of the radio show segment where a Syrian man, Fateh, told the hosts how the officer helped them.

Fateh said he and his family were travelling to Oman on Friday June 16, the first day of Eid Al Fitr, when their car broke down at the Hatta border.

They had resigned themselves to cancelling their Eid holiday and returning to Dubai when Mr Al Badwawi offered them his Land Cruiser so they could continue to Muscat.

While the family enjoyed their holiday, Mr Al Badwawi had their car fixed so it would be ready for their return to the UAE.

Fateh called the radio show to share his story and to thank Mr Al Badwawi for "doing more than I would expect from a brother" and saving his family holiday.

Read more: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid praises officer for saving a family's Eid holiday

On Monday, Dr Hamad Al Shaibani, managing director of the International Institute for Tolerance, presented the inaugural Tolerance Award to Mr Al Badwawi, saying it is a token of appreciation for the officer who acted as a living example of the Emirati values of tolerance and kindness.

Dr Shaibani said he was proud of the officer and that he has high hopes that such an act will spur others to be equally tolerant and kind to each other.

“Being tolerant does not mean alienating people from other cultures and from other religious and political backgrounds but responding to them with concern and respect,” Mr Al Shaibani said.

The institute is currently gearing up for the first-ever World Tolerance Summit to be held in Dubai from November 15-16. Mr Al Shaibani invited Mr Al Badwawi speak in one of the youth sessions.

“It would be an ideal platform to share his story to inspire other people how a simple act of kindness starts a bigger chain of kindness,” Mr Al Shaibani said.