In a rare and heart-warming gesture of communal harmony, more than 200 Muslims were invited to perform Maghrib prayers inside a Christian church in UAE last Friday.
According to a report on Gulf News, St George Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Simhasana Cathedral in Al Ain, conducted the iftar get-together for Asian road workers residing in a labour accommodation near the church.
After the iftar, the church – which caters to around 270 families from Indian state of Kerala – offered the facility for Maghrib prayers, which was gladly accepted by the Muslim attendees.
“All of them said that it was the first time they had offered prayers in another religious shrine. They said it was their privilege and thanked us for this rare opportunity,” Bobin Skariya, convener of the Iftar Committee told Gulf News.
Some church members were concerned about whether Muslims would be hesitant to offer prayers in a church.
“But it was heartening that none of our Muslim brothers had such concerns at all. We all were delighted that our brothers upheld the true spirit of Islam,” Skariya explained.
“It was the first time, at least in the UAE, that a church opened its doors for Muslim prayers,” he added.
Some senior Emirati officials in Al Ain, who got to know about Muslims praying inside the church, called up the church to express their appreciation.
“When they said that we upheld the UAE’s true values of religious and social harmony, we felt proud,” the convenor said.
Many Muslim leaders and friends, apart from fellow Christians, also congratulated the church and offered their support for such endeavours in the future.
According to the report, the church members prepared the food for their guests themselves. Members of the women’s wing, youth wing and the elders forum cooked chicken biryani in the church premises after mass on Friday.