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18 non-Muslim places of worship in Abu Dhabi to get licences

18 non-Muslim places of worship in Abu Dhabi to get licences
An evening view of Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi - Places of worship such as churches, temples and gurudwaras will now be regulated by the DCD.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Tue 17 Sep 2019, 4:19 PM

Last updated: Tue 17 Sep 2019, 6:11 PM

Eighteen non-Muslim places of worship across Abu Dhabi will be granted licences at a special event scheduled for next week.

Under the slogan 'A Call for harmony', the Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi (DCD) announced on Monday that it will organise the ceremony to license these existing places of worship at at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi on September 22, 2019.

The decision is to bring all the institutions of worship under one licence umbrella in an effort to assist their day to day running, according to authorities.

Worship places such as churches, temples and gurudwaras for Sikhs will now be regulated by the DCD.

Previously, non-Muslim places of worship were not officially recognised by law, according to authorities.

"The aim of licencing the worship places to provide an official unified channel within the government for religious bodies to go to for special services and when they need advice or support," Sultan al Dhaheri, the Executive Director of Community Engagement and Sport at the DCD told Khaleej Times on Monday.

"If any public or private entities want to establish new places of worship or set up related services, they should contact the department."

Al Dhaheri explained that the department has put in place several requirements to be submitted in by the worship places and if all the requirements are met, the application will be opened which goes through several stages of approval before a licence is granted or rejected.

According to the DCD, licencing these places of worship will contribute to boosting Abu Dhabi's regional and global standing, as it advocates peace, tolerance and coexistence.

The licensing ceremony, which will be attended by around 250 government leaders, in addition to a number of religious figures, businessmen and media representatives, emphasizes Abu Dhabi's efforts in promoting the values of brotherhood, love, and harmony amongst all segments of society.

The department said it has worked on developing legal frameworks, policies and procedures which ensure the rights of citizens of all religions to practice their faith seamlessly, in accordance with UAE laws and regulations, and without affecting the authenticity of UAE's customs and traditions.

The DCD officials have met with all those in charge of places of worship, as well as a number of religious figures representing different religions and sects, and they were introduced to the conditions and policies that must be met in order for places of worship to obtain licences.

The licensing ceremony will include a number of events highlighting religious, cultural and demographic diversity in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, while highlighting Abu Dhabi's societal integration and coexistence that has been one of the emirate's distinguishing attributes throughout history.

Abu Dhabi is home to several churches and a gurudwara. The foundation stone for the region's first traditional stone Hindu temple was laid in the capital in April this year.


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