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Combating Terrorism and Extremism:

The UAE condemns in the strongest terms terrorism in all of its forms and continuously renews its commitment to combating terrorism and defeating the extremist ideologies that fuel violence perpetrated by brutal terrorist groups, including Daesh, Al-Qaeda, and others.

The threat of terrorism and extremism is a daily challenge that targets the security and stability of our region while threatening our political, economic, and social systems.

It is a global phenomenon that transcends borders, cultures, and religions, and fighting it requires concerted efforts from the international community. Our war on terrorism is not solely military in nature, as terrorism is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon that requires specialized approaches in combating its spread. Therefore, efforts to degrade extremism and terrorism must take into consideration a multipronged approach, from tackling the roots of radicalism to combating recruitment and encouraging individuals’ active participation in society.

On the legal front, the UAE has passed legislation to criminalize activities associated with terrorism, including:

  • Federal Law No. 7 of 2014 on Combating Terrorism Offences
  • Federal Decree Law No. 2 of 2015 on Combating Discrimination and Hatred
  • Federal Law 5 of 2012 on Combatting Cybercrimes
  • Federal Decree Law No. 20 of 2018 on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organizations
  • Issuing a local list of terrorist entities in accordance with the provisions of Federal Law No. 7 of 2014 on Combating Terrorism Offences

In the fight against terrorist financing, the UAE has exerted significant effort to strengthen anti-money laundering systems through legislation. Furthermore, the UAE works with international partners to monitor and disrupt terrorist financing networks by cooperating with other Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) and international organizations, such as the  Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF), which champions financial information collection and analysis programs.

The UAE has long recognized the danger of extremist ideologies. As such, the country has adopted various methods of preventing radicalization by moderating religious discourse across official institutions, as well as religious and media platforms. Religious education curriculum has been carefully developed for use by all levels, including Islamic education classes in the formal school system and standardized curricula in the Qur'an memorization centers managed by the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments.

In 2012, the UAE established the Hedayah Center in partnership with the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum. Hedayah is an international center for training, dialogue, research, and cooperation in the fight against violent extremism, and the UAE is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum and was the co-chair of the Forum's Task Force Against Violent Extremism alongside the UK from 2011 to 2017. Since its founding, Hedayah has worked to develop novel ways to prevent the spread of extremism, particularly by increasing community participation, shaping initiatives to counter radicalism, and augmenting educational opportunities available to at-risk populations.

As part of its ongoing efforts to combat extremism, particularly on social media, the UAE and the US established the Sawab Center in March 2015, housing an interactive online messaging initiative aimed at supporting the efforts of the Global Coalition against Daesh in its fight against extremism and terrorism. The Center has based its strength in the voices of the Muslims and non-Muslims around the world who reject terrorism and the false and misleading ideas promoted by terrorist organizations. The Center works to harness the power of social media and online communications to identify and correct religious misunderstandings.

The UAE is dedicating efforts to promote tolerance to address the root causes of extremism. A Minister of Tolerance was first appointed in 2016 to spread the values of tolerance and peaceful coexistence in the UAE and abroad. The International Institute for Tolerance in Dubai was founded in order to instill a spirit of tolerance throughout the country and solidify a culture of openness and civilized dialogue in firm opposition to intolerance, extremism, closed-mindedness, and discrimination. In February 2019, the UAE hosted the Human Fraternity Meeting with the aim of stimulating dialogue on coexistence between different faiths and cultures and discussing ways to promote these values worldwide while challenging extremism and promoting respect for differences. The conference produced the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, signed by Dr. Ahmed El Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar, and His Holiness Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, during their joint visit to the UAE to participate in the conference. The UAE also announced the construction of the Abrahamic Family House, which will include a mosque, a church, and a synagogue. It aims to send a cohesive message to the world on the importance of peaceful coexistence and interfaith dialogue, thereby preventing extremist and terrorist groups from exploiting religious differences to spread violence and hatred.

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