x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Hundreds of Al Quoz workers defy mud and flooding to attend Friday prayers

More than 300 men gathered to kneel on the road in a long line in the Dubai industrial area, despite the thick mud and huge puddles.

DUBAI // It was a reaffirmation of the spiritual belief of the hundreds who had gathered to pray.

Just half an hour earlier, dark clouds had been gathering above the warehouses and labour camps of Al Quoz, threatening another downpour.

But after the final prostration marked the end of Friday prayers, the skies had cleared and the sun was shining brightly.

“It means that God is happy with us,” said Munir Ahmed, a labourer and regular at Friday prayers in the industrial area.

Taxis, public buses and scores upon scores of lorries lined the roads as more than 300 men gathered to kneel on the road in a long line.

The men, mostly employees at ETA Mechanical, a factory near by, come here every week to pray at the company’s Portacabin mosque.

About another 200 people knelt in the company’s courtyard, outside the makeshift mosque.

But this Friday was different. The sandy patches of bare earth by the roadside had been churned into thick mud and huge puddles of brown water pooled by the pavement.

Zohair Hussain, an employee at ETA, said the people here would come to pray in rain or shine.

“It doesn’t matter what the weather is,” he said. “Whether it is sunny or rainy, God is still looking at us.”

On Friday, Al Quoz is a hive of activity. Thousands of men in their best salwars and skullcaps head in all directions in search of a mosque.

“There are not many mosques in this area, so we are happy to find somewhere we can pray on Friday,” said Abdul Aziz, a security guard.

Al Quoz has been subject to a huge sewerage and drainage upgrade by Dubai Municipality, which has helped mitigate some of the serious flooding seen in previous years.

Tareq Ahmad Humaid Al Shamsi, head of operations at the municipality’s drainage section, said the water was more than the system could handle.

“We have had teams across Dubai working 24 hours to clear the roads of water,” he said. “We have been working with the RTA [Roads and Transportation Authority] on this, starting with major roads first and then moving to smaller roads inside Al Quoz.

“We would like to ask the public to be patient with us. It’s not something that can be done in an hour.”

Mr Al Shamsi said work was due to be finished by Saturday afternoon. “We are working hard on this and will not stop until the job is done.”