He made the disclosure on Thursday, June 15, 2023, during his interaction with students and teachers at the Islamic Secondary School for Sciences (ESSI) located at the Islamic Cultural Center in Nyamirambo, Nyarugenge District of Kigali City, where he shared the UAE’s efforts in combating violent extremism and terrorism.
"The UAE is dedicated to supporting moderate Islam and countering extremist interpretations of the faith. The country is leading efforts to promote inclusion and compassion through Islam, countering the root cause of extremism and disrupting the messages that lead to radicalization," he noted.
Amb. Alqahtani highlighted the UAE Government’s consistent demonstration of its commitment to inclusion since unification, implementing laws that protect religious freedom and programs that foster interfaith understanding.
He emphasized that the values of inclusion, mutual respect, and religious freedom have been ingrained in the UAE’s DNA since the country’s founding in 1971 when people of countless faiths and more than 200 nationalities began living together, side by side, in harmony.
Amb. Alqahtani explained that the UAE government advocates fighting extremism through strict enforcement of counter-terrorist financing laws and regulations. Additionally, they are focused on disrupting the recruitment of foreign fighters, preventing extremist exploitation of the internet and social media, and challenging the use of religious centers to promote hatred and violence.
These efforts are complemented by the UAE General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, which works closely with religious leaders in the UAE to monitor and prevent extremist preaching in religious centers. The authority provides guidelines for all Friday sermons and monitors compliance in mosques to prevent extremist teaching.
Furthermore, Amb. Alqahtani disclosed that the UAE criminalizes any acts that stoke religious hatred or insult religion through any form of expression, including speech, the written word, books, pamphlets, or online media platforms.
"Internationally, the UAE has strongly supported regional and international efforts in coastal West Africa and the Sahel, including through contributions to the G5 Sahel Joint Force and its membership in the Global Coalition against Da’esh. It has also supported the establishment of the Coalition’s Africa Focus Group, which will work to counter the threat posed by Da’esh and Al-Qaeda across Africa," he stated.
Another significant initiative is the joint financial counter-terrorism task force between the UAE and the United States, which enhances cooperation, coordination, and information sharing to shut down illicit financing networks and cut off the flow of funds to extremists.
"The task force helps block funding to extremists from individuals or black market sales of oil and prevents access to the international banking system," said Amb. Alqahtani.
After the interactive discussions, Amb. Hazza Alqahtani awarded six academically best performing students from ESSI with smart tablets.