ABU DHABI // Twenty-two young scholars were selected on Monday to become the peaceful and tolerant face of Islam and help to maintain the spiritual security of the UAE.
The first Emirati Scholars Development Programme (ESDP) was launched in the capital, whereby students selected after a series of interviews will embark on a three-year programme to disseminate the true values of Islam.
Each year is divided into two semesters and graduates will receive a certificate at the end of every semester.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, received scholars and students at the Sea Palace on Monday, and discussed with them the role of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies in spreading awareness about Islam’s approach, which is based on tolerance, justice and peace, and rejects bigotry, violence, extremism and sectarianism.
He emphasised that everyone was responsible for presenting a true and sound image of Islam.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, president of the forum, will supervise the programme, while academic scholars will help to frame the sharia and human sciences fields of the programme.
Sheikh Abdullah said: “We need a tolerant, brave and noble generation with wise and illuminated minds, a generation that views matters in their real contexts, a generation that never causes crises to its nation.”
He said it would be the students’ duty to observe Allah’s teachings, keep people interested in them and to never breach the rights of the community.
“This is a very important step in this time, when there are plenty of different religions spread over the world, to invest in youth to the right path of Islam, with thinking for the welfare of society and the nation,” Sheikh Abdullah said.
Under the directives of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Centre of Muwatta Studies, Rehabilitation and Publishing was launched.
The programme aims to develop scholars with a strong belief in their Emirati identity, understanding of duty and a wide knowledge of the world.
The scholars will be in charge of increasing religious and intellectual illumination of the UAE in the Muslim world, in particular, and the world in general.
Dr Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, chairman of the National Education Council and managing director of the centre, said: “This initiative is not only a service to the nation, Arabs and Muslims but it’s for all humankind.”
Dr Mohammed Matar Al Kaabi, chairman of General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (Awqaf), said the programme would help guide youths to the correct path, and prepare them to reflect the peaceful and moderate ideology of Islam.
Tahani Al Katheeri, 23, was one of 22 students selected for the programme, and said that not just anyone can take up the course – they have to be from a specific Islamic background.
“I’ll be studying deeply about Islam and will tell others about it in a very correct manner,” said Ms Al Katheeri, who has completed a bachelor’s degree in Islamic studies.
Baker Mohammad, 27, said: “I am fortunate that I have been selected for the course.
“This course is not for obtaining a degree but to deeply understand Islamic teaching and project it correctly to others.”
Mr Mohammed has also completed a bachelor’s in Islamic studies but he said other students selected were from different backgrounds, such as law.
Source: uae news