Keeping with the UAE’s vision for 2019 to be the ‘Year of Tolerance’, a group of expats took the opportunity on Thursday to celebrate Ramadan and partake in a special Iftar inside a church in Ras Al Khaimah.
In what could be a first, the expats, mainly from Kerala, India, spent the evening celebrating Ramadan and partaking in the Iftar inside St. Luke Anglican Church in the northern emirate.
St Luke Anglican Church is part of the Chaplaincy of Dubai and Sharjah with the Northern Emirates, within the Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf; one of four Dioceses which make up the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, which is also a Province within the world-wide Anglican Communion. There are five churches within the chaplaincy: St Luke Anglican Church, Ras Al Khaimah; St Nicholas Anglican Church, Fujairah; St Martin Anglican Church, Sharjah; Christ Church (Anglican), Jebel Ali; and the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Dubai.
Chief priests from three religious groups – Hindus, Christians and Muslims – came together to spread the message of peace, love and harmony among the expatriate community in the UAE.
A Hindu priest Swami Sandeep Anandagiri flew in especially from Trivandrum, Kerala to deliver a special message at the event.
Speaking to Gulf News, Anandagiri said: “We need more platforms like this to spread the message of love and peace. It is terrible living a life of hatred and violence. The state of Kerala in India is largely secular. And I was here spreading this message at the special Iftar. I have not seen an event like this where Muslims broke their fast and did Iftar prayers inside a church. It was a beautiful moment, one will be cherished for a long time. Attitude is key. If we see things positively and in the right manner, we will be able to make a positive difference around us,” said Anandagiri, who is chairman and managing director of the School of Bhagavad Gita in Trivandrum, Kerala.
A mixed crowd of Hindus, Muslims, Christians gather at the St. Luke Anglican Church in Ras Al Khaimah