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In a move to promote religious tolerance, a mosque in Abu Dhabi has just been renamed to ‘Mariam Umm Eisa’ mosque, which translates from Arabic to English as ‘Mary Mother of Jesus’.
You’ll find the mosque in Al Mushrif in Abu Dhabi and the new name was decided by Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan “to promote the social connections between the followers of different religions” and highlight Christianity and Islam’s similarities according to the UAE’s official news agency.
Just next door to the renamed mosque you’ll find St Andrew’s Church, an Anglican parish.
Remember, ‘Mary, Mother of Jesus’ is actually mentioned and highly revered in the Quran.
“There are people from over 200 nationalities currently living in the UAE, who enjoy security, peace and co-existence, as our holy religion urges us to follow justice, respect others and co-operate in giving with other people,” explained the Chairman of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs, Dr Mohammed Matar Al Kaabi.
UAE CHRISTIAN LEADERS PRAISE MOVE
“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,” said Reverand Bishoy Fakhri, pastor of the Cathedral Church in Abu Dhabi.
“Using the name of ‘Mother Mary’ on this mosque is a gesture of love and peace that we hope will be followed around the world,” added Reverend Ibrhaim Farouk from the Christian Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt in Abu Dhabi.
The UAE now has a Tolerance Charter and a Minister of Tolerance, and as H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, explained in an open letter recently, when the Arab world was “tolerant and accepting of others it led the world”. He writes that, from the civilizations of Damascus to Andalusia, Arab people “provided beacons of science, knowledge, and civilization, because humane values were the basis of our relationships with all civilizations, cultures, and religions.”
Here are six other amazing places of worship you’ll find in the UAE:
In other news, In 2013, a Muslim businessman donated five acres of land next to a mosque in Abu Dhabi that will be turned into a large Swaminarayan temple – and in 2015 the UAE’s rulers announced that they will build a large Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi too that will open by the end of this year. The Abu Dhabi temple will host the worshippers of many different faiths, including Buddhism and Jainism.
And last year, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed went to meet the Pope to discuss religious tolerance in the region:
Photo: WAM/UAE Official News Agency