Pray for humanity: End hatred, unite as brothers and sisters in fight against coronavirus
Prayers were led by Grand Imam of Al Azhar and Pope Francis. Millions joined from across the world.
We are united in humanity as brothers and sisters, against the pandemic, said leaders of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity on Thursday as they bowed their heads in prayer for an end to the coronavirus raging across the world.
The day of prayer is a unique UAE-inspired initiative to bring people of different faiths together for a common cause against Covid-19.
The prayers were led by Dr Ahmad Al Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar and Pope Francis. Millions joined from across the world.
"Let diversity values prevail instead of fanaticism, bigotry, hate of the other, and discrimination among people on the basis of faith, colour, race, and wealth," prayed Dr Tayeb.
"Everyone prays as they know how, as they can, according to what they have received from their culture. This day of prayer against the pandemic must make us think also of many other pandemics. The pandemics of war, of hunger. May God put an end to this tragedy - this pandemic - and have mercy on us," Pope Francis prayed.
"Let May 14 mark the beginning of a new world where peacemaking overcomes the industry of weapons, showing evidence of our ability to create a common environment where we can all live together as fellow brothers and sisters enjoying mutual love," said Dr Tayeb.
Religious leaders and community heads of the UAE from different faiths came together virtually on Thursday to pray, reflect and seek refuge in God against Covid-19.
It was in response to the call of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity (HCHF) that urged leaders and people from all over the world to pray to God for an end to the deadly virus.
The HCHF initiated a global movement called 'Prayer for Humanity' and had invited religious leaders and faithful around the world to mark May 14 as a day of fasting, prayers and supplications for the good of humanity and "an end to the Covid-19 pandemic".
A multi-faith virtual prayer session organised by the Jebel Ali Church Complex and Interfaith Committee in Jebel Ali saw 14 religious and community leaders from various faiths coming together and beseech God Almighty in their own forms of prayer.
Dr Omar Al Muthanna, CEO of the Community Development Authority in Dubai which oversees the places of worship, said: "Our world is going through the toughest times when lives of millions of people are at risk due to this rapid spread of Covid-19 pandemic. The world has always rushed to make scientific efforts to overcome these situations and even today we are making all efforts to help eradicate this disease but we should not forget that we cannot do without God's help. And we need His help to rescue us from any challenging situation. We should maintain this perfect balance between faith and science and pray to the Almighty to help us find the successful breakthrough to end this pandemic."
Surender Singh Kandhari, chairman of the Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh temple, said: "When times are hard and obstacles seem enormous, it is the power of prayer that can win us out of these difficult times. This prayer reads that the Almighty will never abandon us in good and bad times. All we need to do is seek God's protection and He will protect and preserve us."
Joining in the virtual prayer service were also Rev Fr Mina Hanna, priest of the Coptic orthodox church in Jabal Ali, Dubai; Mohammad Al Neyadi, director-general of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments; Fr Reinhold Sahner, St Francis Catholic church: Archbishop Nathanael Youssef, patriarchal vicar of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Arabian Gulf and Ashok Kotecha, director, BAPS Hindu Temple Abu Dhabi.
A number of virtual prayer sessions were organised across the UAE as part of the global day of prayer. St Thomas Indian Orthodox Church in Dubai started a chain of prayers on Wednesday evening and continued it until 6pm on Thursday. While St Michaels Church Sharjah held live holy mass session in English at 6.30am, Gurunanak Darbar, Dubai, hosted its prayer service on a Zoom conference with 7,000 members from 6pm to 7pm. BAPS Hindu Mandir, Abu Dhabi, also held a virtual prayer session from 7.30pm on Thursday.
The Ministry of Tolerance also organised a prayer session that saw the opening and closing remarks of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance.
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