Moral education protects kids from extremism, says expert

The moral education curriculum is mainly aimed at encouraging students to be forward-looking, creative and respectful to everyone.

The UAE has made relentless efforts in promoting tolerance and coexistence through introducing moral lessons in the school curriculum, an education official told the "Interfaith Tolerance Education to Combat Extremism conference" that took place in Abu Dhabi on February 25.
The move helps instilling love and a culture of belonging among children to protect them from becoming extremists, said Dr Karima Matar Al Mazroui, executive director policies and programmes sector at the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek).
During a panel discussion on the "UAE Model: Role of Interfaith Tolerance Education in Preventing Violent Extremism", Dr Al Mazroui said to counter the root causes of extremism and disrupt the messages that lead to radicalisation, the UAE decided to introduce 'moral education' for young people as a pathway to a more inclusive and equitable society.
"The UAE has established a minaret-like education system through which it can spread awareness and create an active and effective instrument that can immunise our youths against destructive ideas, enhance their sense of belonging and loyalty and instill their pride of the national identity," she said.

"The moral education curriculum is mainly aimed at encouraging students to be forward-looking, creative and respectful to everyone by creating a strong foundation on ethics, tolerance, civic duty and cultural diversity."
With moral education, according to Al Mazroui, the UAE is empowering the nation's youth to develop their own character, to understand and cherish their unique identity and individuality and promote respect towards cultural diversity.
She noted that this initiative had a great and effective role in the development of the educational system and the creation of an early preventive system that protects youths from slipping into extremism and terrorism.
"The UAE works on promoting the values of tolerance, peaceful coexistence and respect for cultural diversity in the community, that boasts of more than 200 nationalities working and living in the country," said Al Mazroui.
The session on the second day of the conference highlighted how the UAE ensures the commitment of its teachers and the education of its youth on the vital importance of interfaith respect.

Rev Canon Andrew Thompson, Anglican Priest at St. Andrew's Church, said that because of the UAE's tolerance and acceptance, the church in the country is flourishing.
"This is a Muslim nation but we receive thousands of worshippers and faithful on Fridays and give sermons in various languages. This shows how tolerant the UAE is," said Thompson.
According to Thompson, the narrative that religion was causing violence is not true. "Poverty, unemployment and marginalisation are the main causes of violence but not religion," he said, adding that the role of religious leaders is to promote love and tolerance and to reject hatred and divisionism.
For Dr Ibrahim Al Belaihi, Saudi Arabian writer and thinker, morals should be taught right from homes and the community.
"Morals, good behaviours and good characters should be our culture. Tolerance, love and respect for each other should be our normal life," said Al Belaihi.
"Children should copy and learn the morals from their parents and the society because what one learns from childhood becomes a practice."



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