UAE’s first official synagogue to open in multi-faith complex in 2022

Jerws already worship in a house in the UAE. (File/Shutterstock)
Updated 22 September 2019

UAE’s first official synagogue to open in multi-faith complex in 2022

  • The synagogue will be part of the multi-faith ‘Abrahamic Family House’ complex in Abu Dhabi
  • A small Jewish community of expatriates currently use a house in Dubai for private worship

DUBAI: Construction on the United Arab Emirates’ first official synagogue will begin next year and be completed by 2022, according to local media reports.
The synagogue will be part of the multi-faith “Abrahamic Family House” complex in Abu Dhabi, which will also feature a mosque and church of which full construction will be completed in 2022.
The complex was announced in February following a visit by Pope Francis to the UAE, the first by a pontiff to the Arabian Peninsula.
The UAE promotes itself as a center of tolerance and says it supports religious freedom and cultural diversity.
Though the synagogue will be the first in the UAE, a small Jewish community of expatriates currently use a house in Dubai for private worship.
Other official non-Muslim places of worship in the country include Christian churches, a Hindu temple and a Sikh Gurdwara.
The majority of those living in the UAE are foreign workers, the largest group of which are Indians. The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi said about 2.6 million Indians live in the UAE, or about 30 percent of the population.


First UAE sighting of one of the world’s rarest birds in Abu Dhabi 

Updated 20 September 2020

First UAE sighting of one of the world’s rarest birds in Abu Dhabi 

  • Known as a Steppe Whimbrel, the bird is estimated to have a global population of only around 100
  • It is believed to have travelled in time for the autumn bird migration

DUBAI: One of the rarest birds in the world has been spotted in Abu Dhabi by two members of the Emirates Bird Records Committee (EBRC), according to state news agency WAM. 
Known as a Steppe Whimbrel, the bird - estimated to have a global population of only around 100 - was seen by Oscar Campbell and Simon Lloyd at the Saadiyat Beach Golf Course, WAM reported on Saturday.
Believed to have travelled in time for the autumn bird migration, the Steppe Whimbrel is an extremely rare sub-species of the widespread Whimbrel, which regularly passes through the Emirates in spring and autumn.
The Steppe Whimbrel seen in Abu Dhabi is believed to have been born this year, making it the first time a juvenile Steppe Whimbrel has been spotted anywhere in the world, according to WAM.
“On August 29, we were studying around 20 whimbrels on the Saadiyat Beach golf course. We were stunned when one flew off showing the distinctive white wings, clearly different from the other birds,” Campbell and Lloyd told WAM. 
“We immediately realized the potential significance of this so we concentrated on observing the bird and obtaining photographs, allowing us to check the key identification features,” they said.
Campbell and Lloyd then shared their photographs with world’s top expert on Steppe Whimbrels, Gary Allport, who confirmed their findings. 
“The discovery of a Steppe Whimbrel in Abu Dhabi is remarkable in itself, and confirms our suspicion that the migration route of the sub-species passes through the Arabian peninsula region,” Allport said. 
“What is even more remarkable is that this is the first time ever, anywhere in the world, that a juvenile Steppe Whimbrel has been seen in the field…It’s an amazing find,” he added. 
The Saadiyat Beach Golf Course management was delighted with the discovery. 
“When you look at the significance of sighting the Steppe Whimbrel in Abu Dhabi, its history and the subspecies actually being declared extinct in 1995, it is pretty amazing,” Clinton Southorn, Cluster Director of Agronomy for managers Troon Golf, told WAM.
“This is one of the reasons the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club has worked hard to achieve its Audubon certification and showcase the positive environmental impact the course can have on the environment,” he added.