ABU DHABI, September 25, 2019 (Herald Malaysia): From the United Arab Emirates comes another, important signal of tolerance and openness towards non-Islamic religions. On the weekend, the authorities granted official recognition to a Hindu temple and 17 Christian places of worship, including churches built decades ago. The historic ceremony was held last Saturday at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Under the banner “A call for harmony,” the Department of Community Development (DCD) in Abu Dhabi decided to bring all religious institutions in the Emirates under a single umbrella so that the authorities could support them.
“For decades, our great leaders have welcomed people from various religions, making the UAE a place for all. Abu Dhabi is now a leading model for tolerance and coexistence,” said Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, chairman of the DCD. In a country where most of the population is foreign, “The UAE is keen on embracing unity and promoting the inclusion of everyone who has contributed to the development of the country,” Al Khaili explained. “With this new initiative, the places of worship will now be working and operating under one umbrella.” The Department of Community Development notes that the new rules and policy will allow members of all religions to practice their faith freely, in accordance with the laws of the Emirates and without harming the customs and traditions of the majority Muslim population. For Al Khaili, this is a further sign that diversity in values is respected in the country where most places of worship are built on land donated by emirs and rulers.
HPI Note: Wikipedia puts the number of Hindus in the UAE at 1.4 million. Out of a population of 9.6 million, 11.5% are Emiratis with the remaining 88.5% expatriates or immigrants.