Editorial: Bonhomie In Abu Dhabi

Editorial: Bonhomie In Abu Dhabi

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Thursday, February 15, 2024, 08:49 PM IST
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the inauguration of the BAPS Hindu Mandir, in Abu Dhabi |

The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha temple in Abu Dhabi, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 14, underscores the openness of the government there. As Modi mentioned, when he requested the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi for a plot of land to build the temple, he did not even bat an eyelid before agreeing to the proposal. In due course, 27 acres of land was given to let the largest Hindu temple in West Asia come up as an abiding testament of the people’s faith in harmonious co-existence. It was, perhaps, a reciprocal of what Cheraman Perumal did in 643 CE when Arab merchants sought a plot of land to build a mosque. It is history that the Hindu ruler went to Arabia to meet the Prophet, converted, died and was buried in Oman while returning to Calicut. The Cheraman Juma Masjid at Kodungallur in Kerala is the first mosque outside of Arabia.

Today, the UAE has three temples, with two others in Dubai, established in 1958 and 2022. There are also churches and other religious places, whose presence has not diluted the citizens' adherence to Islam. This is just as the mosque near the Vatican has not made a dent in the centrality of Catholicism in the world’s smallest nation. The inauguration of the temple imparts a lesson to India where some political groups have allegedly identified 3000 mosques, not just the ones in Mathura and Kashi, for demolition to right the wrongs of the past. They do not realise that if religious structures are demolished to ascertain their antiquity, they would see under them the debris of Jain and Buddhist shrines. The essential teachings of all religions are rooted in love, mercy, and compassion. That is what the grand temple in Abu Dhabi also proclaims to the world.

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