UAE national service ‘will benefit all’

Officials discuss aspects of the national service law, and say it is a religious obligation.

Dr Ali Al Khouri, director general of Emirates Identity Authority, says it will provide training after national service.  Sarah Dea / The National
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ABU DHABI // Young Emiratis have been told that national service will not just instil military discipline, but will also improve their health and strengthen civil society.
The new requirement for Emirati men aged between 18 and 30 will reduce obesity and related medical conditions among young people, said Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, general manager of Adec, the Abu Dhabi Education Council.
Dr Al Qubaisi was the first woman to be elected to the FNC and in March became the first female member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.
Maj Gen Sheikh Ahmed bin Tahnoon, director of the National and Reserve Service Authority, said military service was coming at the right time to translate national slogans into actions.
"Enforcing the service now does not mean there are dangers threatening the country, but protecting it is a legislative right," he said.
Military service was announced in January, fast-tracked through the FNC and signed into federal law this month by the President, Sheikh Khalifa. The first recruits will join up in September.
Dr Farouk Hamada, the prominent Islamic scholar and adviser to the Crown Prince Court Abu Dhabi, pointed out that the Prophet Mohammed had taken young Muslims to training camps to learn horse riding and archery.
Islam required everyone, regardless of age or sex, to guard their homeland. Those who were unable to carry out military service were obliged to assist the leaders with spreading knowledge and wisdom, Dr Hamada said.
The Quran and hadith attributed great value and rewards for those who do performed services, and punishment for those who refused to answer the call, he said.
Dr Ali Al Nuaimi, chancellor of UAE University, said a committee was working on introducing the study of Emirati society into the higher education curriculum. This subject would eventually be compulsory in public and private universities, he said.
Dr Ali Khouri, director general of the Emirates Identity Authority, said it would be providing training courses for young people who had completed their national service.
He said national service had a strategic application, and the authority had succeeded in this field by having almost all its staff Emirati.