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UAE mosque renamed after Mary, mother of Jesus 

Abu Dhabi: A mosque in Al Mushrif, a district in the capital Abu Dhabi, has been renamed as ‘Mariam, Umm Eisa’ — Arabic for ‘Mary, the mother of Jesus.’

The change on June 14 was ordered by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces, to “consolidate bonds of humanity between followers of different religions”.

The earlier name of the mosque was the Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Mosque.

Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance, thanked Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed for his “wise directives in carrying out this initiative that set a shining example, and a beautiful image of the tolerance and coexistence enjoyed by the UAE,” according to a statement carried by WAM.

Mohammad Mattar Al Kaabi, chairperson of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, lauded Shaikh Mohammad for this initiative.

He added that since the days of Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE has always been keen on tolerance and peaceful coexistence “that is based on justice and brotherliness among all those living in the UAE”.

Al Kaabi added the renaming of the mosque falls in line with the liberal policies of President Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Shaikh Mohammad as people from more than 200 nations live in the UAE.

Just steps away from the newly-renamed mosque sits St Andrew’s Church, an Anglican parish. “We are delighted that we are celebrating something that we have in common between both our faiths,” the church’s senior chaplain, Reverend Canon Andrew Thompson, told the Gulf News.

Mary, he added, as the mother of Jesus, is of course a holy, special figure in our communities. “She is a woman who symbolizes obedience to God. We look forward to growing in deeper understanding with our neighbors, and we celebrate with them the new name of the mosque.”

Jeramie Rinne, senior pastor of the Evangelical Community Church in Abu Dhabi, hailed Shaikh Mohammad for another “generous gesture of religious tolerance.”

“The UAE continues to set the pace in this region for peaceful coexistence and cooperation. We are very encouraged and feel blessed to be a part of this nation,” he added.

Amid sectarian conflicts and regional chaos, the UAE has been seeking to boost its national values of tolerance of other faiths.

In February last year, the government created the Ministry of Tolerance, appointing Shaikha Lubna as its head.

In June, the UAE Cabinet approved a new National Tolerance Programme based on seven key pillars — Islam, Constitution, Zayed’s legacy and ethics of the UAE, international conventions, archaeology and history, humanity and common values.

This week, a church in Al Ain opened its doors for Maghrib prayers. The event saw church workers lay down carpets on the wooden floor so that more than 200 Asian Muslim workers could perform prayers.

After hearing the news, several senior Emirati officials in Al Ain called up the church to express their appreciation. “It was the first time, at least in the UAE, that a church opened its doors for Muslim prayers,” said Bobin Skariya, a worker at the St George Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Simhasana Cathedral.

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4 Responses to UAE mosque renamed after Mary, mother of Jesus

  1. A. S. Mathew

    When I was landed in the U.S. 47 years back, the stores were filled with made in Japan clothing, also South Korean products, but later on Japan jumped into the electronic goods and automobiles. Now I see a different market situation. The South Korean cars Kia and Hyundai are giving headache to the Japanese-European and U.S. cars; their comparatively low priced high quality goods with very long warranties are attracting the U.S. consumers in a hurry. The name ” Samsung” is seen in the kitchen appliances-washers and dryers-cell phone and T.V.s. The popular Japanese Panasonic and Sony are disappearing, likewise the U.S. brands too. While researching about the growth of Christianity and the zeal in evangelism, South Korea is second to the U.S. in sending Christian missionaries. Also, the Christian believers from Korea are trained to be evangelists along with their secular profession overseas.

    While watching UAE for the last half a century, we can see a different and unique nation among the Islamic nations of the world; too friendly and loving towards the Christian expatriates of UAE. When the first missionary ship ” Logos” of the Operational Mobilization was docked at the Dubai sea port in 1972, the port was under construction. To entertain the Christian expatriates, the generous and hospitable rulers of UAE were very gracious to open the hands for the ship. The ship came back next year, the welcome was farther greater and thousands of the natives paid visits to the ship and bought books including Christian books and Bibles.

    While the western world, especially in recent times the U.S. has shown a coldblooded attitude in the Christmas celebrations, it will catch the eyes of the world, how the Christmas is celebrated in UAE. They get some of the most expensive Christmas trees from Canada, and the UAE citizens celebrate the birth of JESUS as a superior Prophet of their religion.

    The naming of ” Mary, Mother of Jesus” for a large Mosque shows another act of reverence and friendship with the Christian community in UAE. The leaders of Dubai-Abu Dhabi and Sharjah are too happy to give property for the Christians to have their Church buildings built, also to take part in the ribbon cutting ceremony of the Churches.

    Those nations who did display hospitality to the Jews and Christians were blessed because history repeatedly telling that. Those two religious groups were the most persecuted down through the history.

    The UAE is at the top rank in religious tolerance, also at the topmost rank as a safe nation in foreign investment in Asia. It is not an easy task to have those top grading, the visionary leaders of the nation attained that enviable status; thus now UAE is ranked with the U.S.-Australia-England-France-Germany and other European nations as totally safe havens for foreign investment. These two green signals are very attractive signs of greater prosperity and growth of UAE. My inner spirit is telling very strongly that GOD has some very special blessings upon the UAE, we will be watching that in the coming days.

  2. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Action speaks louder than words. Crown Prince Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan is showing the way.

  3. Fr.Joseph Anithottam

    Three kudos to the Govt and the administration of UAE for their religious tolerance and promoters of coexistence and respect for all religions by the people of UAE. let the religious fanatics of this country learn from them the rudiments of peace and harmony in the country. let the rulers of our country learn lessons from them.

  4. A. S. Mathew

    One book in Koran is titled ” Mary “, the mother of JESUS. The name of Mary is mentioned more times in Koran than any other woman.

    Great that the rulers of U.A.E. are taking this step. GOD ALMIGHTY has special blessings upon U.A.E.

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