Singapore firm to build Abu Dhabi’s first Hindu temple

The signing ceremony in Dubai was attended by Navdeep Singh Suri, India’s ambassador to the UAE, and Samuel Tan Chi Tse, Singapore’s ambassador to the UAE. (AN Photo)
Updated 10 August 2018
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Singapore firm to build Abu Dhabi’s first Hindu temple

  • A large social, cultural and sports complex will be constructed around the temple
  • The main part of the complex is scheduled for inauguration during Expo 2020

DUBAI: Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) — the global religious and civic organization that is part of the Swaminarayan branch of Hinduism — has announced that it has selected Singapore-based architects Raglan Squire and Partners (RSP) to oversee the design and construction of the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces, granted land for the temple in Al-Rahba — close to Abu Dhabi city.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the project during his visit to the UAE in February.

“India and the Indians here in the UAE recognize that the UAE shares our values of inclusiveness and mutual progress, and today’s event is representative of that,” Navdeep Singh Suri, India’s ambassador to the UAE, said at the signing ceremony in Dubai on Thursday. “The UAE has the highest spirit of tolerance and brings people of all faiths and cultures together to develop a monumental project in the UAE.”

“I am very pleased that a Singaporean firm was chosen for this auspicious project. We treasure and guard the same values as India and the UAE. The entire essence of this project serves as an example of how different faiths and nationalities can come together,” said Samuel Tan Chi Tse, Singapore’s ambassador to the UAE.

The agreement was signed by Dr. B.R. Shetty, chairman of Mandir Limited (a non-profit company working under BAPS), and Lai Huen Poh, global managing director of RSP Architects, Planners and Engineers.

Shetty explained that BAPS’ traditional architects — known as “sompuras” — and engineers will design the stone temple, called “mandir” in Sanskrit. Its exterior will be made of pink sandstone from Rajasthan and its interior from white marble handcrafted by artisans in India.

RSP’s experts from Singapore, India and the UAE, along with BAPS’ core team and other consultants, will develop the cultural and spiritual complex around the temple, which will reportedly include places for children’s activities, exhibitions, multiple prayer halls to serve the community, and a “pure-vegetarian” food court, among other facilities.

The main part of the complex is scheduled for inauguration during Expo 2020, which will take place in Dubai.


Brother of Palestinian teen Tamimi sentenced for stone-throwing

Updated 21 August 2018
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Brother of Palestinian teen Tamimi sentenced for stone-throwing

  • Ahed Tamimi was teenage girl who became an icon of the Palestinian cause when she was arrested for slapping a soldier
  • Waed had already received a suspended sentence for stoning Israeli security forces in 2016

JERUSALEM: The brother of a teenager who became a symbol of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after slapping two soldiers has been sentenced to jail for throwing stones at a police officer, the army said Tuesday.
Waed Tamimi, the brother of Ahed Tamimi, confessed to his role in a March 2017 “violent riot” in which an Israeli police officer was wounded by stones thrown by Palestinians at his vehicle, according to a military court ruling from Monday.
Since he had already received a suspended sentence for stoning Israeli security forces in 2016, he was handed a 14-month sentence for the 2017 incident as part of a plea bargain, the court document said.
Asked by the court if he had anything to say, the 22-year-old said: “I have nothing to add. There will be no third time,” according to the ruling, which was published by the army on Tuesday.
The incident took place in Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank, where the Tamimi family lives.
Tamimi’s sister, Ahed, was released from prison last month after an eight-month sentence for hitting and kicking two Israeli soldiers in front of her house in the occupied West Bank.
In an interview the day after her release, the now 17-year-old told AFP that she understood she had become a “symbol” of the Palestinian cause.
Video of that incident went viral, leading to praise and support from Palestinians but scorn from Israelis who accused her activist family of using her in staged provocations.
Rights groups harshly criticized Israel for the length of Ahed Tamimi’s sentence.