This post was originally published on 15 June 2017.
To demonstrate the spirit of tolerance and giving, a Sikh temple in Dubai gathered 120 Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Christians from different nationalities for an Iftar meet-up.
The temple, Gurunanak Darbar Gurudwara, hosted the residents of over 30 nationalities to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan and support the Muslim community in breaking their fast in an multicultural setting.
Exchanging handshakes and pleasantries, the guests — men, women and children — enjoyed a vegetarian iftar at a specially-arranged area in the langar while regular visitors feasted on the other side of the hall.
This is the fifth time that the Sikh temple in Jebel Ali is organising an inter-faith iftar, said Surender Singh Kandhari, chairman of the gurudwara.
The temple is known for offering free food to visitors from its community kitchen, called “langar”. What was common among everyone inside the place of worship was a head covering. Many Muslims were seen wearing the saffron coloured headgear supplied by the gurudwara.
“The UAE is the only country where one can see such perfect coexistence of all nationalities and religions… We are very proud to share with our Muslim brothers a great sense and feeling of equality and mutual respect,” Kandhari said.
Islamic scholars Abdul Hadi and Ahmad Hamid of Al Manar Islamic Centre explained the essence of Ramadan to people of other religions as there are many who generally associate the fasting month with just iftar and suhour.
The chief guest at the iftar was Mirza Hussain Al Sayegh, Director of the office of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.
“You can see tolerance, cooperation, harmony and happiness in the faces of everybody who has got together in this spiritual place. This is [an occasion] which brings the UAE and India together as well,” said Al Sayegh who has served in India as a top diplomat.
Indian Consul General in Dubai Vipul said the gurudwara is doing a great service by getting all communities and religions together.
Gurunanak Darbar, the largest Gurudwara of Gulf region, was declared open for over 50,000 devotees in UAE.
For the Year of Giving, the temple held the Guinness World Record for serving free continental breakfast titled “Breakfast for Diversity” to the maximum number of people from diverse nationalities.
On a regular basis, the gurudwara serves free meals every day to visitors, and distributes food packs to labor camps every weekend.
Last week a Christian church in UAE had arranged iftar for over 200 Muslim workers.