James Zogby Gems (“Shake” Zayed)

Sheikh Zayed, on the other hand, was a trusted friend and key ally of the US for many decades, a visionary political leader and a humanitarian with an impressive record of relief and reconstruction assistance...Four years ago, I was asked by Abu Dhabi Television (which carries my weekly program, “Viewpoint”) to record interviews with prominent US leaders about the contributions Sheikh Zayed had made to world peace and development…If a man can be known by his friends, then the tributes paid to Sheikh Zayed by this extraordinary collection of US public figures stood as a remarkable testimony to his greatness…First and foremost, I believe it was because Sheikh Zayed was a leader of quiet greatness. He and his country do not blow their horn loudly…Nor do Americans know of the extraordinary humanitarian, relief and reconstruction efforts initiated by Sheikh Zayed…When critics ask, “Have Arabs done good with their wealth?” or “Can Islam coexist with modernity?” One need only look to the UAE to see that the answer to both questions is definitively “Yes.”…a quiet and great leader passed quietly from our midst. He was mourned by Emiratis who lost the father of their country and by Arabs and Muslims everywhere who lost one of the region’s wisest and most visionary leaders…His legacy, however, remains with us and, I believe, efforts should still be made to communicate that legacy in the West. Because it is an antidote to negative stereotypes, his story must be told. If not told, then that legacy can be recast and distorted by those hostile to Arabs and Muslims. The life and contributions of Sheikh Zayed, so revered in the Arab and Muslim world, need to be more broadly appreciated in the US, as well.”