The Mahamevnawa Buddhist Monastery reinforces the UAE's dedication to integrate minority communities
The Year of Tolerance has never been more relevant, especially for the Buddhist community.
The Chief Priest and Founder of the Mahamevawa Buddhist Monastery, Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero, also visits the country and monastery regularly to meet the members of the community
As a bastion of multicultural ethnicities, the UAE truly does embody the 'melting pot' adage. With such a diverse collection of nationalities, the Year of Tolerance has never been more relevant, especially for the Buddhist community.
Considered the fourth largest belief system in the world following Islam, Christianity and Hinduism, close to 300,000 Buddhists have been living in the UAE for decades, with around 250,000 hailing from Sri Lanka.
Catering to their beliefs is the Mahamevnawa Buddhist Monastery, the UAE's only Buddhist temple, located in Dubai's Jumeirah neighbourhood. The first Mahamevnawa Buddhist temple was established at a small villa in Satwa in 2008, growing quickly and finding a bigger place in Garhoud in 2010. Then in 2012, it moved to its present location.
Of particular note is that this is the only Buddhist temple in the Arabian Peninsula, moving forth to reinforce the UAE's position as the leading Arab nation when it comes to integrating a minority community.
The Chief Priest and Founder of the Mahamevawa Buddhist Monastery, Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero, also visits the country and monastery regularly to meet the members of the community.
When asked about tolerance in the UAE, Thero said: "The leaders and people of the UAE must be congratulated for building a country and forging a society so tolerant and accepting of other faiths, religions and cultures. I see now that the tremendous growth that the country enjoys comes from accepting all these different faiths and nationalities. The UAE has chosen to welcome them and rejoice in them instead of taking the negative path of narrowness or rejection. The UAE has opened their hearts to us and for this, I will be eternally indebted to this country."