x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Stay out of UAE's business, RAK Ruler says

Do not confuse humility with weakness, Sheikh Saud warns.

People who "poke their noses into the UAE's internal affairs" should "mind their own business", the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah has warned.

Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi said authorities must not allow "malignant" persons to "harm a single inch of our country".

"We hear today … that there are some who are trying to tamper with the stability of the UAE. I would like to say to them: the people of the UAE don't need lessons from anyone. They are confident in themselves and in the solidarity that they share," he said.

Those who do not like the rules of the UAE "should leave for another place".

"Anyone who seeks to offer advice," Sheikh Saud said, "must respect the country and its soil and must not confuse humility with weakness.

"I address my words to those who wish to try to teach us lessons of which we are in no need."

Sheikh Saud was speaking to a small audience of diplomats, academics and Federal National Council members on the potentially harmful effects of social-media networking.

"Those who try to belittle the Emirates do not affect the prominent status that our country enjoys," he said.

"We will accept this neither from our brothers nor from any part of our country."

The UAE has been criticised by some rights groups over the case of seven Islamists who had their passports and citizenship revoked, and of other activists who used online social networking platforms to voice their opinions on politics and religion.

People have a right to voice their opinion, but need to choose the correct medium in which to do so, said Dr Abdulrahim Al Shahin, an FNC member from RAK who took part in yesterday's discussion with the Ruler.

During the meeting, he said, Sheikh Saud emphasised that the "relationship between the Ruler and the ruled in the UAE was one of the most distinguished in the world" as all nationals were welcome to voice their concerns and problems to the Government at all times, directly.

But forcing a point of view on the Government, he said, was not acceptable.

"The Ruler's doors are open to all Emiratis in the country, they can listen to all problems and can adopt them, doing whatever they can to help the Emirati and the country," he said.

"But national security is a red line. It is not acceptable to interfere in this, or for anyone from outside to do so, for that matter."

He said Sheikh Saud also emphasised that attacking the Government on social networks was not acceptable.

"If a person has a problem, they can easily present it to the Ruler, or the cabinet, or the FNC," he said. "All rulers have left their doors open and take all points of view."

zalhassani@thenational.ae

osalem@thenational.ae

* Additional reporting by Wam