Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 May 2019

A grand gesture

Sheikh Mohammed asked for a mosque in his name to be called ‘Mary, mother of Jesus’
The renaming of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Mosque is aimed at promoting bonds between religions.
The renaming of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Mosque is aimed at promoting bonds between religions.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed’s order to change the name of a mosque in the capital to Mariam Umm Eisa or Mary, Mother of Jesus Mosque is a far-reaching and unique gesture, underlining this country’s commitment to tolerance and to inter-faith dialogue and understanding. The mosque is just steps away from St Andrew’s Church. Rev Canon Andrew Thompson, senior Anglican chaplain, hailed the renaming as a “lovely gesture”.

But more than that, it is a grand educational call for the many who are unaware that Jesus is one of the prophets of Islam and his mother, Mary, one of its four leading women – with an entire chapter devoted to her in the Quran (and also one for Joseph).

In a world of seemingly ever increasing intolerance and intransigence, this remarkable gesture sends out a powerful message to the broad international community that the UAE is a beacon of tolerance and understanding in a region that is too often racked by conflict and chaos.

Updated: June 17, 2017 04:00 AM

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