Dubai, Nov 13, 2020: Massive Diwali celebrations in the UAE exemplify the religious tolerance and communal harmony in the country, participants of an interfaith event held in Dubai heard on Thursday.
The Indian Consulate in Dubai organised the multi-faith event to mark the Hindu festival of lights by inviting various UAE dignitaries and leaders of multiple religious communities. Held in association with FOI Events, the event witnessed the participation of around 50 guests and followed COVID-19 safety guidelines. The event began with the national anthems of the UAE and India, followed by the lighting of the traditional lamp by the main guests.
CGI along with FOI celebrated #DiwaliUtsav today with participation from @CDA_Dubai,Dubai & AbuDhabi Police @DubaiPoliceHQ along with community leaders from various sects on a single platform.This echoes importance of festival of lights cutting across religious lines. @MEAIndia pic.twitter.com/axG00lRmVu— India in Dubai (@cgidubai) November 12, 2020
Chief guest Dr Omar Al Muthanna, CEO of the Community Development Authority in Dubai highlighted the importance attached to the Indian community in the UAE, who numbered over three million. He thanked the expat community members for their contribution to the country and wished them peaceful coexistence here.
Consul General of India in Dubai Dr Aman Puri highlighted the extraordinary vision of the UAE leadership and thanked the Rulers for creating a cohesive and safe environment for celebrating Diwali even amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “The UAE is a beacon of tolerance, peace and harmony not only in the Middle East, but across the world. It is the second home to about 200 nationalities,” he said.
Dr Puri emphasised the importance of the message conveyed through Diwali — victory of knowledge over ignorance, that of light over darkness and that of good over evil. Wishing happiness and good health to everyone on the festive occasion, he urged the community members to strictly adhere to the safety guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus while celebrating the festival.
Swami Brahmavihari Das, the head of the BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, Surender Singh Kandhari, chairman of Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara, Rev. Father Siju C. Philip, vicar of Mar Thoma Parish,
Chandu Siroya representing the Jain community and Mohammed Khomusi representing the Bohra community were the other guests who spoke on the occasion.
Religious freedom in UAE
The leaders — representing multiple faiths — also highlighted the religious freedom ensured by the country, the only one to have an exclusive ministry for tolerance. Some of them also spoke about how Diwali is celebrated cutting across religions in India and abroad and the significance attached to the day under different faiths.
Dr. Maya Al Hawary, who holds the “Tolerance Knight” title, and senior representatives of Dubai Police, Abu Dhabi Police, Al Ain University were also present.
The mission conferred certificates of appreciation to the UAE dignitaries for their outstanding contributions to the welfare of the community and for promoting peace, harmony and tolerance in the UAE. A couple of traditional dance performances by winners of a Diwali virtual celebration organised by FOI Events were also showcased on the occasion.