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January 6, 2023 2:09 pm
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United Arab Emirates Adds Holocaust Education to School Curriculum

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avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Flags of United Arab Emirates and Israel flutter during Israel’s National Day ceremony at Expo 2020 Dubai, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, January 31, 2022. REUTERS/Christopher Pike

Two years after normalizing relations with Israel through the Abraham Accords, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will include Holocaust education in its school curriculum, the country’s embassy confirmed on Thursday.

“Memorializing the victims of the Holocaust is crucial,” said Dr. Ali Al Nuaimi a member of the UAE Federal National Council and mediator of the Abraham Accords at a November event in Washington DC, first reported by The Times of Israel. “Public figures failed to speak the truth because a political agenda hijacked their narrative, yet a tragedy on the scale of the Holocaust targets not only Jews, but humanity of the as a whole.”

Nuaimi added that “public figures and scholars should be encouraged to discuss the Holocaust and protect common human values while leaving political differences.”

“The United Arab Emirates has been leading the way in peace and tolerance education in the region for some years,” said Impact-se CEO on Thursday. “Impact-se is delighted that they have taken this important step in educating about the Shoah and humbled to have partnered with the Ministry Education.”

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Also responding to the news, Combat Antisemitism Movement, a nonprofit monitoring antisemitism, said, “This is a major step in combating the regional culture of Holocaust denial and normalizing relations with Israel.”

The UAE has steadily promoted coexistence and positive engagement with Jews and Christians in recent years, creating what Impact-se, an Israeli education watchdog, describes as the “most tolerant and peaceful Arab or Muslim majority country curriculum.”

In one example assessed by Impact-se Emirati students are taught that the Prophet Muhammad visited a sick Jewish child, and in another, that Omar bin Al-Khattab, the second Rashidun caliph, ruled in a favor of a Jew in a civil case.

The 2020 Abraham Accords are discussed in materials for students in grades 6, 8, and 12, along with endorsements by leading Islamic UAE organizations. The material also describes the Abraham Accords as “helping Arab and Islamic causes, derived from an Islam intent on containing extremism and enhancing a global atmosphere of tolerance and cooperation,” the Impact-se report says. Radical Islamism is strongly discouraged as a “chief threat” to prosperity, and the Palestinian cause is no longer portrayed as the key to solving all of the region’s challenges.

However, parts of Emirati curriculum remained “hostile” to Jews, including a grade 11 lesson describing Muhammad’s filling “[Jews] hearts with horror”  for supposedly violating their commitment to support Muhammad,” the report said. In a lesson drawn from a passage from the hadith — a collection of traditions containing sayings of the prophet Muhammad —  students are told not to “resemble the Jews.”

 

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