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Respecting expats part of heritage ‘Home, school responsible for inculcating tolerance in kids’

Verbally or physically abusing some domestic servants, stone pelting some expatriate passengers and drivers, lack of patience toward some expatriate doctors and teachers, by some individuals, certainly indicate that tolerance usually begins at home! Already known for its tolerance toward strangers, foreigners and non-citizens, our Kuwaiti traditional society stands upon certain pillars of morality. These moral ideals usually advocate mercy, compassion and understanding toward others. As such, as Kuwaiti citizens, many of us already understand the importance of such moral ideals and many of us live by them.

Therefore, we realize that we are integral parts of a larger human family; many of us in fact continue to object to some antisocial behavior directed toward some expatriates. This being said yet certain individuals in our society continue to verbally or physically torment some helpless domestic servants. Some youngsters pelt expatriate passengers while they ride in public buses; perhaps just because they believe they can do so! One can add to this the other negative phenomenon common these days of not being patient with some expatriate doctors and teachers and simply opting for the more reckless behavior: verbally and sometimes physically assaulting these expatriate professionals. Such behaviors go against our national laws and against the teachings of our national heritage. Such negative behaviors in fact go against our Islamic tenets! Intolerance actually goes against the basic teachings of our Islamic faith.

As a Muslim society, Kuwait has been welcoming strangers, foreigners and expatriates for decades without apparent conflict. This tolerance toward those who are different springs from our Islamic faith, in addition, it originates from our national heritage.

For example, one of the most enduring tenets of Islam is the equality among humans: in the Holy Quran, the Almighty says “We have created you from male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.” (Al-Hujraat-13). One cannot instill by force tolerance in the mind of a child unless the whole family believes in the legitimacy of tolerance and its importance to its general wellbeing.

If a young child learns about tolerance at school and then encounters daily situations of intolerance at home, he/she will find it hard to believe in tolerance. In other words, tolerance in addition to being a moral concept, which reflects the morality of a whole society, will take its roots if the ordinary family considers it as an accepted code of conduct.

A tolerant young person for example, will subsequently be a tolerant father or mother for these parents are already used to tolerance and will ultimately help shape the mentalities of their children. A child who is already used to voicing his points freely in a safe family environment will find it much easier to accommodate tolerance and accept it as a way of life. Indeed, a child raised in a tolerant family will eventually become a good neighbor, a good friend and certainly a tolerant person toward those who are different from him.

  Follow me on twitter: @khaledaljenfawi

By: Khaled Aljenfawi

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