Interfaith iftar returns to Dubai gurudwara after two years

Dubai: Emirati officials joined people of multiple faiths and nationalities to end their fast with a spread of vegetarian dishes for iftar at Dubai’s Guru Nanak Gurudwara today.

The Sikh temple of worship held its annual interfaith iftar, which had begun in 2013, after a gap of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An Islamic scholar, who ended his fast with the large gathering at the ‘langar’ hall, then read the Quran and led the prayer (salaat/namaz) in separately arranged areas for men and women in the same hall.

An Islamic scholar, who ended his fast with the large gathering at the ‘langar’ hall, recited the Quran and led the salaat/namaz.
Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Langar is the free community meal served three times a day to every visitor to the gurudwara irrespective of their faith or background. The gurudwara, which had started hosting daily iftars during Ramadan in 2019, resumed that practice this year after restrictions over the pandemic were eased, Surender Singh Kandhari, chairman of the gurudwara told GulfNews.

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Visitors at the ‘langar’ in Dubai’s Guru Nanak Gurudwara during the interfaith gathering on Tuesday.
Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

In his welcome speech, Kandhari thanked His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai for donating the land for building the Gurudwara. “We are ten-years-old now,” he said and added: “Dubai is the safest place in the world today. I believe we all are together as brothers and sisters, children of one God.” He added that everyone enjoys freedom and gets support in this country.

Sunjay Sudhir, the Indian Ambassador to the UAE, praised the Rulers of the country for promoting tolerance, cohabitation and coexistence. He said India, home to second-largest population of Muslims in the world, has also been celebrating festivals of all faiths with the message of togetherness. “That’s the spirit of India.”

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Sunjay Sudhir addresses the interfaith gathering at the gurudwara in Dubai on Tuesday.
Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

The ambassador also praised the gurudwara for playing a special role in extending help to those who suffered during the pandemic.

Mirza Hussain Al Sayegh, director of the office of late Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, thanked the Al Maktoum family for welcoming and harboring people of more than 200 nationalities in Dubai in harmony and took the opportunity to recall the centuries-old relationship between the UAE and India. “We all remember Bombay (Mumbai), Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Calcutta (Kolkata) and Surat … This is in the blood of the UAE people,” he said, referring to the strong ties that Emiratis have always had with these major Indian states and cities.

Lauding the values ​​of humanity and harmony in India from the time of Mahatma Gandhi, Al Sayegh appreciated the hard work of Indian expats in building this country. “You are the secret behind our development and growth and keep on doing the good job.”

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Mirza Al Sayegh thanked the Al Maktoum family for welcoming and harboring people of more than 200 nationalities in Dubai.
Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Al Sayegh also appreciated the community service undertaken by the gurudwara during the pandemic.

Dr Omar Al Muthanna, CEO of the Community Development Authority in Dubai, said the interfaith gathering demonstrated the success of solidarity, which is derived from the intrinsic value of tolerance in the Emirati community. “Caring for others, dealing with others with good morals and living cohesively are integral parts of the construct of this holy month of Ramadan and it stands as a cornerstone in this country’s culture.”

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Dr Omar Al Muthanna said the interfaith gathering demonstrated the success of solidarity, derived from the intrinsic value of tolerance in Emirati community.
Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

He said the Sikh community has been an important companion of the UAE society. “The Sikh people in the UAE always showed their commitment towards spreading loyalty, positivity and respecting diversity. I’d like to say that this gathering is not only a simple act of courtesy, but it is a way of honoring humanity while preserving the respect and the self-esteem of others. Such beautiful images of tolerance are all over the UAE, which could only have been achieved through the support of our community,” he added.

Former Pakistani cricketer Zaheer Abbas and Pamela Serena, Mrs Universe Dubai 2021, who is the first Sikh lady to grab the title, were among the guests that included members of the diplomatic and business communities from various countries.

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