Muslims, Christians share Iftar at Abu Dhabi church

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Residents during the Iftar organised by the St Andrew’s Church in Abu Dhabi. — Photo by Ryan Lim
Residents during the Iftar organised by the St Andrew's Church in Abu Dhabi. - Photo by Ryan Lim

Abu Dhabi - Senior chaplain Andy Thompson said the inter-faith gathering is a platform to celebrate the spirit of tolerance, peace and harmony.

by

Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Tue 21 May 2019, 8:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 23 May 2019, 1:51 PM

St Andrew's Church Abu Dhabi hosted an Iftar where Muslims and Christians came together to mark the holy month of Ramadan.
Senior chaplain Andy Thompson said the inter-faith gathering is a platform to celebrate the spirit of tolerance, peace and harmony. "We have done this last year too. It is important that people pf both faiths get together in a relaxed setting to celebrate friendship. This is what it means to be in the UAE - a place where people from all over the world are working and living together. And yet, we rarely get a chance to meet and have fun together. We need to push back intolerance seen in the rest of the world and the UAE is leading the way. We are just joining the party," Thompson said.
Even though it is a one-off event, the church didn't have any difficulty setting an Iftar gathering as there were expert advices from Muslim 'ambassadors'. The church has a monthly gathering of Muslims and Christians where there is exchange of dialogues.
Monthly inter-faith gathering
Mohammed Anis, an 'ambassador', said the event is celebration of commonalities among all faiths.
"It's not just this Iftar. We have a monthly gathering 'scriptural reasoning' for past two years to share common scriptures. Muslims will take a scripture from the Bible and a Christian will take a scripture from the Quran, and there will be discussions. It's fruitful conversations as there are lots of similarities."
The 'ambassadors' took fasting Muslims from the gathering to pray at nearby mosque - Mary, Mother of Jesus Mosque.
Sabeel Abdhulrahiman was among the gathering with wife Harshath Beegum Sabeel and kids Adam Ihsan and Zara Sabeel. "This is the first time we are all breaking fast in a church. We are amazed by the hospitality and friendly atmosphere here."
As the hall was filled to capacity, the church had to open an additional hall to accommodate faithful. The Anglican church was established in 1968 and is marking 51 years. 
ashwani@khaleejtimes.com



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