'One Family': Worship Houses In Dubai Thank UAE Leaders For Support, Culture Of Tolerance

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Wed 12 Jun 2024, 2:49 PM

Last updated: Wed 12 Jun 2024, 4:03 PM

In a grand hall adorned with flowing drapes of purple, the atmosphere in one of the worship houses in Dubai was one of reverence and celebration on Wednesday morning.

The ceremony, held at the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church theatre at Jebel Ali, was in honour of the unwavering cooperation that the houses of worship receive throughout the year from the government officials in the UAE.

While the sun outside cast a warm glow through the stained-glass windows, the air inside was perfumed with the scent of fresh flowers, creating a serene and sacred ambiance.

The hall filled with a diverse assembly of dignitaries, community leaders, and members of the media.

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One human family

Addressing the audience, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE's Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence emphasized the importance of 'unity' in advocating for tolerance, coexistence, brotherhood, and sustainability.

He said:“As we work together, we declare our collective resolve to overcome religious and cultural misunderstandings, to build positive relationships between all of us. We must dispel stereotypical attitudes and instead nurture meaningful ways of thinking."

Sheikh Nahyan also highlighted the power of engagement in shaping the future and solving global challenges.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan

“As one human family, we must think and work together so that everyone receives respect, compassion and understanding. We must champion human rights, dignity, and a high quality of life for all. I commend your efforts to make the world a better place for all,” he added.

Father Mina Hanna, Pastor of the Coptic Church in Dubai, said:“All these government entities facilitate, provide, and support us at the Jebel Ali place of worship, to be able to play our roles in serving our different worship houses. We are grateful for their time. This gathering reflects the UAE government and leadership's constant pursuit of peace and coexistence – where there is dignity and respect for all nationalities, beliefs and backgrounds.”

Muhammad Abdullah Muhammad bin Majid Al Marri, Deputy Director of Jabel Ali Police Station talked about the need for clear communication to improve relations.

“Every time our teams meet with the heads of the worship houses, we take note of their comments and relay the same to the government departments to solve things for everyone. Therefore, communication is important to overcome challenges and to ease processes. It is through proper communication that inter-faith relations and government support can be enhanced," he said.

'Together, for a sustainable future'

Speaking to Khaleej Times, heads of other worship houses in the UAE also reiterated that the annual occasion was a testament to the power of unity and collaboration that exists between people of different faiths and government entities.

Bishop Paolo Martinelli

Head of the Catholic Church in the UAE, Bishop Paolo Martinelli, said:“As we can see in the theme of the event, 'Together, for a Sustainable Future' is a very important thought, especially for this period. I think it's a call for us to build and work together so that we can have a sustainable future. We must respect each other and work together. Helping one another, supporting human fraternity and coexistence is very important.”

Showing gratitude

Shedding light on this annual event which has been held for nearly five years now, Rajkumar Shroff, Trustee of the Hindu Temple Dubai said:“This is an initiative where we invite all the government officials who help us coordinate and support events. It's a thanksgiving event. It is on behalf of the worship village that we have here. This includes the 7 churches, the Gurudwara and the Hindu temple. In all, we invite around 200 people.”

“We felicitate the police officers, the Community Development Authority (CDA), immigration – whichever departments are involved in helping us coordinate various events. A lot of planning and coordination goes into a place of worship. Security is also involved. We would like to thank them once a year, on behalf of all of us,” added Shroff.

Bubbles Kandhari, Vice-Chairperson of Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara, Dubai, stressed that the camaraderie experienced during such occasions is also the universal message across faiths.

Bubbles Kandhari

“This is a one-of-a-kind event that is organised every year to invite and thank the government officials for all the efforts that they make. This entire group is an example of what the government is propagating ... to live together in harmony, upholding the principles of coexistence, togetherness and inclusivity,” she said.

Senior officials from various government bodies attended the event, with representatives from the Community Development Authority, Protective Security and Emergency at Dubai Police, Jebel Ali Police Station, Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs, Islamic Affairs, Charitable Activities Department, and Road and Transportation Authorities. Other dignitaries included members from various diplomatic corps across the country.


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