PETALING JAYA: The Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed mosque in Al Mushrif, a district in Abu Dhabi, UAE, was on Wednesday renamed “Mariam, Umm Eisa”, which is the Arabic name for “Mary, the mother of Jesus”.
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan ordered the renaming of the mosque “to consolidate bonds of humanity between followers of different religions”, the Gulf News reported.
Minister of State for Tolerance Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi thanked Shaikh Mohammad for his “wise directives in carrying out this initiative that set a shining example, and a beautiful image of the tolerance and coexistence enjoyed by the UAE”, according to media reports.
Andrew Thompson, a senior chaplain at St Andrew’s Church just steps away from the mosque, was quoted as saying: “We are delighted that we are celebrating something that we have in common between both our faiths.
“Mary, as the mother of Jesus, is, of course, a holy, special figure in our communities. She is a woman who symbolises obedience to God.
“We look forward to growing in deeper understanding with our neighbours, and we celebrate with them the new name of the mosque,” Thompson said.
The UAE continues to set the pace in the region for peaceful coexistence and cooperation, said Jeramie Rinne, senior pastor of the Evangelical Community Church in Abu Dhabi.
“We are very encouraged and feel blessed to be a part of this nation,” he said.
Recently, a church in Al Ain was said to have opened its doors for Maghrib prayers to over 200 Asian Muslim workers by laying down carpets on the wooden floor of the church.