Remarkable, indeed - GulfToday

Remarkable, indeed

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The UAE is an oasis of tolerance.

The UAE has made tolerance the cornerstone of their policies and today the nation stands as a glowing example of harmonious coexistence of faiths, peoples and cultures (“VP honours pioneers who helped promote tolerance,” Nov.27, Gulf Today).

By honouring individuals and others involved in tolerance initiatives, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has sent a strong signal that whosoever promotes the virtues of tolerance will be recognized and their works rewarded. Much more than that, it is also an endorsement that UAE is keen on seeing that tolerance is felt and embraced by all residents in the country.

Among the pioneers who were honoured, were two Christian expatriates, Saji Cheriyan, an Indian businessman and an Anglican clergyman Rev. Canon Andrew Thompson. Without doubt it was a historic moment for the recipients, but moreso it is for us the community who enjoy the benefits of their remarkable efforts. Cheriyan’s deed of building a mosque for Muslim workers in Fujairah is indeed a rare example of brotherhood.  That he has been hosting iftars for about 800 people and also fasting alongside his workers during Ramadan goes to show how one man’s benevolence enriches the whole community. The world needs more of such people.  

On the other hand Rev. Thompson who released his book “Celebrating Tolerance: Religious Diversity in the United Arab Emirates” highlights UAE’s commitment to religious harmony.

As an expat myself, I feel honoured to be in this country and wish the leaders of this country all wisdom and blessings.

Richard Periera
By email