Countering extremism is one of the UAE's main values, Al Otaiba says

The UAE's ambassador to the US promotes new platform to combat extremism

Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE's ambassador to the US, spoke on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Tuesday. Bloomberg
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Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE's ambassador to the US, spoke on a morning television show on Tuesday to discuss the recent launch of the Manara Centre, a platform that promotes coexistence and the countering of extremist ideologies.

Mr Al Otaiba was joined by Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group that has joined forces with the UAE on the initiative.

“The ADL obviously focuses rightly on the increasingly anti-Semitism in the US and around the world,” Mr Al Otaiba said on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

“We have the same problem when it comes to extremism, hate speech, incitement – we don't think enough was being done about it, quite honestly, until it becomes a terrorism problem until it becomes Daesh or ISIS.”

The Manara Centre was officially launched on March 14 and is focused on educational programmes, including building relationships with universities in the Middle East and South-East Asia, as well as providing specialised training for university students and young people.

“Ignorance is the enemy of all of us and leaders who promote ignorance and who promote intolerance are dangerous,” Mr Greenblatt said.

“We fight extremism and hate by bringing together college students by bringing together young people for conferences, exchanges, that people-to-people connections, how we fight anti-Semitism and Islamophobia and all forms of prejudice – that's what we'll do with the Manara,” he said.

Mr Al Otaiba's comments come as the UAE takes on the presidency of the UN Security Council during the month of June.

He said the nation's “signature event” will take place on Wednesday, when the UAE will present a resolution co-sponsored with the UK that is aimed at addressing extremism.

“It's a very, very important part of who we are,” Mr Al Otaiba said. “It's one of our main values, and we're going to continue to address it around the world whenever we can and wherever we can.”

Updated: June 13, 2023, 3:45 PM