Abu Dhabi: Religious leaders gather at BAPS Hindu Mandir for interfaith assembly

Spiritual leaders from diverse backgrounds celebrated the richness of global faiths and emphasised the importance of dialogue, understanding


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Mon 19 Feb 2024, 12:27 PM

Last updated: Mon 19 Feb 2024, 3:05 PM

An inspiring interfaith event brought together Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist, and other religious leaders at the BAPS Hindu Mandir (temple, a spiritual oasis for global harmony in Abu Dhabi.

Commemorating the opening of the Middle East’s first traditional Hindu temple, the ‘Day of Harmony’ assembly with spiritual leaders from diverse backgrounds celebrated the richness of global faiths and emphasised the importance of dialogue, understanding, and collaboration.

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Omar Saif Ghobash, UAE Ambassador to the Holy See, Assistant Minister of Cultural Affairs for the UAE, and Religious Adviser to President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, compered the proceedings.

“I am extremely happy to experience this Mandir. Seeing this Mandir, I feel we need such a place that takes us closer to God. By having faith in God, we can make this world more harmonious,” said Bishop Paolo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia.

Dr Abdulrahman Alzaid, Deputy Secretary General of the Muslim World League, emphasised the importance of coexistence and peaceful behaviour.

“For social and spiritual harmony, we should co-exist and behave peacefully with each other.”

Bawa Jain
Bawa Jain

Bawa Jain, Secretary General for the World Council of Religious Leaders, hailed the dedication of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha to open a ‘lotus in the desert’.

“The great thing about BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is that once the Guru has made a resolution, it is bound to come true; it is just a matter of seeing when,” he said while referring to the prayer made by the late Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj in April 1997 envisioning a temple in the UAE Capital.

Bishop Paolo Martinelli
Bishop Paolo Martinelli
Rabbi David Rosen
Rabbi David Rosen

Rabbi David Rosen, special adviser to the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi, recollected his interactions with Pramukh Swami Maharaj, his visit to Swaminarayan Akshardham temple in Delhi, and expressed his delight at the inauguration of the historic BAPS Hindu Mandir.

Sri Satguru Uday Singh
Sri Satguru Uday Singh

Sri Satguru Uday Singh, spiritual leader of the Namdhari Sikh Community, joined by more than a hundred members, expressed gratitude to President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his support creation of the Hindu temple.

His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha; Swami Avdheshanand Giri Ji Maharaj, president of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha; and Bhikkhu Sanghasena, founder president and spiritual director of the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre, also participated.

The temple, inaugurated on February 14 with a ‘Festival of Harmony’, is a spiritual sanctuary, that welcomes people of all faiths, cultures, and backgrounds.

Brahmaviharidas Swami, who headed the creation of the BAPS Hindu Mandir under the guidance of Mahant Swami Maharaj, said: “Mahant Swami Maharaj has written that this Mandir is more than just bricks and stones; it is an abode of love, peace, and harmony."


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