The Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed mosque in Al Mushrif, a district in Abu Dhabi, UAE, was on Wednesday renamed ‘Mariam, Umm Eisa’. Mariam Umm Eisa is an Arabic name for Mary, the mother of Jesus.
The renaming of the mosque was ordered by Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi crown prince, “to consolidate bonds of humanity between followers of different religions”, Gulf News reports.
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Reacting to the development, Andrew Thompson, a senior chaplain at St Andrew’s Church, was quoted as saying: “We are delighted that we are celebrating something that we have in common between both our faiths.
“Mary, as the mother of Jesus, is of course a holy, special figure in our communities. She is a woman who symbolises obedience to God.
“We look forward to growing in deeper understanding with our neighbours, and we celebrate with them the new name of the mosque,” Thompson said.
Jeramie Rinne, senior pastor of the Evangelical Community Church in Abu Dhabi, also hailed the news.
“Mohammad has made another generous gesture of religious tolerance in renaming the mosque. The UAE continues to set the pace in this region for peaceful coexistence and cooperation. We are very encouraged and feel blessed to be a part of this nation,” he said.
A church in Al Ain was said to have recently opened its doors for Maghrib prayers.
Church workers reportedly laid down carpets on the wooden floor for over 200 Asian Muslim workers to say their prayers.