Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 February 2020

UAE’s tolerance of extremism is ‘quite low’

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, comments on the country's recent terror designations and the current talks between Iran and the West.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed speaks during the Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies forum on March 9 in Abu Dhabi. Sammy Dallal / The National
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed speaks during the Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies forum on March 9 in Abu Dhabi. Sammy Dallal / The National

ABU DHABI // The UAE’s threshold for extremism is “quite low”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, said, explaining the country’s recent terror group designations.

The UAE released a list of 83 groups it considers to be terror organisations on November 15.

“Our threshold is quite low when you talk about extremism. We cannot accept incitement or funding when we look at some of these organisations,” Sheikh Abdullah told Fox news journalist Bret Baier in an interview published online on Friday.

“For many countries the definition of terror is that you have to carry a weapon and terrorise people. For us it’s far beyond that. We cannot tolerate even the smallest and tiniest amount of terrorism.”

The interview was focused on the UAE’s tough stance on extremism throughout the region, the conflict in Syria, and the current negotiations between the international community and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Sheikh Abdullah made particularly strong comments about how the rise of ISIL extremists in Iraq and Syria was giving the world a distorted view of Islam.

“They are trying to hijack our religion,” he said. “It’s not about them not liking other religions. No, they don’t like our religion. They don’t like the way we practice our Islam.”

Sheikh Abdullah said ISIL wanted to force its harsh interpretation of Islam on “our values, on our countries, on our families”.

Asked about a possible nuclear deal between Iran and the international community ahead of Monday’s deadline, Sheikh Abdullah said the region would question what Tehran’s role would be.

Many will wonder what Iran will get out of a possible deal “not on the nuclear front, but on the regional front”, he said.

“We would wish, obviously, that such a deal would look like very much what we have here in the UAE, where we have no enrichment, no reprocessing. But, obviously, that’s far from what’s going to happen.”

jvela@thenational.ae

Updated: November 22, 2014 04:00 AM

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