x

Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Anonymous Omani businessman spreads holiday cheer

The Omani businessman, who insisted on anonymity, spent almost Dh100,000 on a Christmas party in his home in Muscat for hard-up Christians

Three hundred underprivileged Omani residents were greeted to dinner and a wrapped gift at the wealthy Omani Muslim's home. Handout
Three hundred underprivileged Omani residents were greeted to dinner and a wrapped gift at the wealthy Omani Muslim's home. Handout

An Omani Muslim businessman shared the holiday spirit inviting 300 underprivileged Christians to his home for a Christmas dinner and gifts.

The businessman, who wanted to be identified only as Hafidh, said the gesture was meant to convey the “solidarity of brotherhood between Christians and Muslims living together in harmony."

The Muscat-based construction tycoon told The National, the kinship between the two faiths comes from holding similar religious beliefs, and to “promote togetherness.”

_______________

Read more:

Abu Dhabi churches spread Christmas message of togetherness

The first Noël: 60 years of Christmas carols in Abu Dhabi

_______________

Paul Reyes, a 33-year old Filipino fast food waiter who lost his job recently, couldn't believe it when he received the invitation and said he had never seen “such a gesture” in the 11 years he has worked in Oman.

“When I got there then I started to believe it. We all asked ourselves this question, ‘How could a Muslim do that for Christians?’” Mr Reyes said.

The event is believed to have cost 10,000 Omani rial, Dh95,000, a neighbour of Mr Hafidh told The National.

Sam Rahjeet, an Indian national who earns minimum wage as an electrician in a construction company, said he left the party with a wrapped gift.

“Not only did we eat a lavish buffet but every one of us left with a wrapped gift of some kind. It was truly amazing considering that many rich Christians work or do businesses in Oman but none of them did something like this to the likes of us who are struggling to make ends meet,” Mr Rahjeet said.

Hannah Tan, a Singaporean event planner in Muscat said the Omani businessman had ordered a Christmas tree from her shop three weeks earlier.

“I was surprised when this Omani gentleman came over and put in an order for a 15-foot (4.5 metre) Christmas tree with all the usual trimming,” Ms Tan told The National. "Our trees are all around ten feet (three metres). I had to make a special order to get it from Dubai and transported here.”

The occasion raised a few eyebrows with his neighbours in the wealthy district where he lives in northern Muscat.

“We have no objection and I think he has been very brave to do it, though personally I did not think he should have done it in a lavish way," said one. "He must have spent at least 10,000 rials (AED 95,600) in just one night. But it is his money and he might have a point with his solidarity message.”