In 2015 the United Arab Emirates created Sawab (an organization fighting against violent ideologies including that of the Muslim Brotherhood); in 2016 it established a Ministry for Tolerance; in 2017 a Global Institute of Tolerance and in 2018 a Global Summit of Tolerance, the first session of which took place on 16 November, the date which also celebrates the UN Day for Tolerance. The Emirates wants to showcase its traditional culture.

Historically, the Emirates was a nation of fishermen and merchants in contact with the cultures of the Indian Ocean. During the British colonization, it was incorporated into the Indian Empire. In contrast, Saudi Arabia is a nation established in the desert without external contacts.

In the sixties, Saudi Arabia exported its model of intolerance through Wahhabism, and its support for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and the Order of the Turkish Naqchbandis (two organizations with which it has broken contact today). All reference or religious practice apart from Islam is prohibited in the Kingdom, a prohibition backed up by jail time or the death sentence.

Where Islam is concerned, the Emirates is now competing with its Saudi ally. Distinguishing the cultural sphere from the political, the Emirates has stressed that when the Saudis commenced to finance the expansion of Wahhabism, the founder of their Modern State Sheikh Zayed, had set up a Muslim state protecting equally its Muslim and non Muslim nationals. In the Emirates, positions of hate have been taken up in relation to other religions (including Hinduism) which are repressed.

Anoosha Boralessa