DUBAI: The UAE is the best place for religious tourism given the diversity and beauty of its places of worship, said the chairman of the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar in Dubai, the largest Sikh temple in the Gulf.
The UAE has declared 2019 the Year of Tolerance. Kandhari said the country is a living example of tolerance and being a bridge between peoples of different cultures in a respectful environment that rejects extremism and emphasizes acceptance of the other.
“It’s the only country where more than 180 different nationalities live together in harmony. You can’t find such an example anywhere in the world,” he added.
“This is perhaps the only country where followers of every faith will find their places of worship. These places aren’t meant for worship only. They’re gorgeous pieces of art and architecture,” he said.
“Every building has its own story to share, and everyone is welcome to find solace in any place of worship. Everyone is allowed to go to any place of worship. This kind of peace and tolerance one can’t find in any other part of the world.”
The multi-story gurdwara was opened in January 2012 at a cost of more than $20 million.
Praising the UAE’s construction of a Sikh temple “in the heart of an Islamic state,” Kandhari said: “To add to the joy and sense of wellbeing, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE, bestowed a piece of land free of charge for the Sikhs to build their temple.”
Kandhari added: “This could only happen in a country such as the UAE, which has such a visionary and big-hearted leadership.”