Just another way in which the UAE is encouraging religious harmony…
The UAE is truly a melting-pot of a country, with around 200 nationalities peacefully co-habiting across the seven emirates.
And to further promote an environment of tolerance, particularly around religion, one Abu Dhabi mosque has undergone a big change.
The capital’s Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Mosque, which is found in the Al Mushrif area, has been renamed as Mariam Umm Eisa – which translates into English as Mary, Mother of Jesus.
The new name was ordered by HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Christ’s mother Mary is mentioned many times throughout the Quran, and even has a chapter named after her – Surat Maryam.
The change is designed “to promote the social connections between the followers of different religions” and highlight Christianity and Islam’s common characteristics, according to official news agency WAM.
The “unprecedented” move has been lauded by the city’s Christian churches, who said the renaming “demonstrates the true image of Islam”.
“The UAE sets a real example of tolerance, which transcends ideas and slogans to become a practical reality and reaching the stage of social harmony,” Reverend Bishoy Fakhri, pastor of Abu Dhabi’s Cathedral Church in Abu Dhabi, told WAM.
The UAE has been making a concerted effort in recent times to promote harmony, after appointing a Minister of State for Tolerance and launching a Tolerance Charter last year.
Th chapter, which aims to combat bigotry, extremism and racism by spreading the values of tolerance, peace and coexistence, was revealed by Minister of State for Tolerance Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi in October.
More recently, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, penned a powerful open letter noting that discrimination will not be abided in the UAE.
“We do not differentiate between one another in the UAE, nor do we use race or nationality to discriminate against one another; we see all people as equal, as God created us. No preference or merit is given to anyone except for those who work diligently, respect our laws and constitution and contribute to our nation.”
We couldn’t agree more.