Hindu temple reinforces guiding vision of tolerance and harmony of UAE’s founding fathers

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during the World Government Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates February 11, 2018. REUTERS/Christopher Pike
Updated 11 February 2018

Hindu temple reinforces guiding vision of tolerance and harmony of UAE’s founding fathers

DUBAI: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha was invited to design, construct and manage the Abu Dhabi Hindu temple by the rulers of the UAE and the government of India.
“Especially in the 21st century, when the world is fragmenting for frivolous reasons, this timely noble gesture creates hope for unity in diversity. It reinforces the guiding vision of tolerance and harmony of the founding fathers of the UAE,” said Sadhu Brahmaviharidas, the chief spokesperson of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.
In his press statement, Brahmaviharidas said that the temple would be the first traditional stone temple in the Middle East. “It will be built at Abu Mureikhah, off the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Highway, and will incorporate all aspects and features of a traditional Hindu temple as part of a fully functional, social, cultural and spiritual complex.
The stones will be carved by temple artisans in India and assembled in the UAE. Expected to be completed by 2020, it will also include a visitors’ center, prayer halls, exhibition and learning areas, a sports area for children and youths, thematic gardens, water features, a food court, a books and gift shop and other facilities.
There are few small Hindu temples in Dubai, but this is going to be the first in Abu Dhabi. A total 10 acres of land has been given to the temple construction.
The Abu Dhabi Hindu temple will be managed and constructed by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, which has already constructed and managed more than 1,200 temples across the world including India, the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia and Africa.
“Open to people of all beliefs and backgrounds, races and religions, this traditional temple will be a part of the UAE’s mission of happiness and harmony by helping to foster love, tolerance, understanding and peaceful coexistence. It will facilitate the traditional practice of the Hindu faith and serve the over 3.3 million Indians residing in, and the millions of international tourists annually visiting the UAE through interfaith dialogue, pluralism and universal human values. It will also nurture the children of today and future generations toward a brighter future.”
“Moreover, as a landmark addition to the UAE skyline, the temple will become a beacon of beauty, an oasis of peace, an ocean of spirituality and a home of harmony — a global symbol of faith and friendship.”
M.P. Solanki, a civil engineer by profession and committee member of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha in the UAE, said it’s a dream come true. “I have been living in UAE for over 42 years. We were dreaming to have a proper Mandir in the UAE, but it took decades to make this dream a reality. Only Modi can do this. Indians in the UAE are grateful to Modi ji as well as the rulers of the UAE for giving us a place of worship,” he said.

Jumblatt expresses concern over torture of Syrian refugees

Syrian children are pictured at a refugee camp in the village of Mhammara in the northern Lebanese Akkar region on March 9, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 57 min 38 sec ago

Jumblatt expresses concern over torture of Syrian refugees

  • Walid Jumblatt has expressed concern about Syrian refugees returning to their country from Lebanon
  • Jan Kubis: “The UN and the humanitarian community will continue to facilitate these returns as much as possible

BEIRUT: Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt has expressed concern about reports that Syrian refugees returning to their country from Lebanon face torture and murder.

This coincides with a debate in Lebanon about whether Syrian refugees should return without waiting for a political solution to the conflict in their country. 

UN Special Coordinator Jan Kubis stressed after meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Monday the “urgent need to ensure the safe, voluntary and dignified return of Syrian refugees home, according to international humanitarian norms.” 

Kubis added: “The UN and the humanitarian community will continue to facilitate these returns as much as possible. Another very important message was also to support the host communities here in Lebanon.”

Mireille Girard, representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), on Monday said: “The reconstruction process in Syria may not be enough to attract refugees to return. We are working to identify the reasons that will help them to return.”

She added: “The arrival of aid to the refugees is an element of trust that helps them to return. Their dignity and peaceful living must be ensured.”

Social Affairs Minister Richard Kouyoumdjian said the Lebanese General Security “issued lists containing the names of refugees wishing to return to their homes, but the Syrian regime accepted only about 20 percent of them.”

He added: “The solution is to call on the international community to put pressure on Russia, so that Moscow can exert pressure on (Syrian President) Bashar Assad’s regime to show goodwill and invite Syrian refugees to return to their land without conditions, procedures, obstacles and laws that steal property and land from them.”

Lebanese Education Minister Akram Chehayeb said: “The problem is not reconstruction and infrastructure, nor the economic and social situation. The main obstacle is the climate of fear and injustice in Syria.”

He added: “There are 215,000 Syrian students enrolled in public education in Lebanon, 60,000 in private education, and there are informal education programs for those who have not yet attended school to accommodate all children under the age of 18.” 

Chehayeb said: “As long as the displacement crisis continues, and as long as the (Assad) regime’s decision to prevent the (refugees’) return stands … work must continue to absorb the children of displaced Syrians who are outside education to protect Lebanon today and Syria in the future.”