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Foreigners living in the UAE have paid rich tributes for the late UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. From top left, then bottom left: Rolly Brucales, Haydi El Lamey, Dr Mohamed Al Miqdady, Samir Kapoor, Diana Gerrard, Mariben Christine Eustaquio, Sherif Soliman, and Shuibo Wang Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi/Dubai: Expats from across the UAE have shared their deepest sympathies on the passing of the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, whom they called a transformative leader who steered the country to greater heights.

Coming from different economic, social and cultural backgrounds, they also hailed Sheikh Khalifa “for being compassionate and welcoming to all people from around the world”.

Dr Mohamad Miqdady, from Jordan, who is chief of paediatric gastroenterology at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi, told Gulf News: Today [May 13] is a very sad day for all of us in the UAE. Our eyes shed tears and our hearts grieve. We mourn the passing of our sheikh and our father, and we pray for his soul to rest in peace. May Allah include him in His mercy.”

Dubai resident Sherif Soliman, who works as a media consultant, said: “As an Egyptian expatriate, I’m expressing my sincere condolences to everyone in the UAE. It is truly with great sadness that we mourn the death of a great leader. We are deeply saddened and we pray to Allah to grant Sheikh Khalifa the highest ranks in paradise.”

Haydi El Lamey, also from Egypt, who current works as regional head of customer experience at HSBC Bank, said: “We loss a wonderful leader. Sheikh Khalifa departed today but his legacy will live on forever.”

Builder of UAE prosperity

Chinese journalist Shuibo Wang called Sheikh as the architect of UAE’s prosperity. He said: “I have been in UAE for almost a decade and I have witnessed the development of UAE under Sheikh Khalifa’s leadership. May Allah bless him and the UAE more prosperity.”

Canhong Wang

Canhong Wang, a Chinese student in Dubai, added: “My family and I would like to extend our sincerest condolences with the passing of Sheikh Khalifa. He was a great inspiration to the youth.”

Transformative leader

Mariben Christine Eustaquio, founder and managing director of E-Zone Business Setup, called Sheikh Khalifa as transformative leader who turned the UAE into an international hub for business, tourism, culture and women empowerment. “He paved the way for strong foreign policy and economic diversification. He will truly be remembered for all his monumental achievements,” she added.

Franz Angeles

Filipino entrepreneurs Rolly Brucales and Franz Angeles said: “We share the sadness of the entire country on the passing of a great leader. But we are confident that his legacy of exemplary leadership will remain forever.”

Cherished among expats

Moazzam Hossain

Moazzam Hossain, managing director of Power Technology Electromechanical LLC, said: “The Bangladeshi community is mourning the tragic loss of a great world leader. He has given the Bangladeshi expatriate community a cherished home in the UAE, and we love him dearly. I have been in the UAE for more than 30 years, and have witnessed how he steered the country to greater heights.”

Dr Shamil Wanigaratne

British-Sri Lankan Dr Shamil Wanigaratne, consultant clinical psychologist, said: “Over the past 10 years that I have lived here, I have seen the UAE grow in leaps and bounds. This is a clear testament to Sheikh Khalifa’s visionary leadership and guidance. Even as it has grown steadily, the UAE has continued to be a place of compassion and tolerance for all its expats, and this is truly unique and special. His loss is truly monumental.”

Nilufar Yuldash

Nilufar Yuldash, from Uzbekistan, who is a human resources generalist and lifestyle blogger, said: “The UAE is a land of opportunity, thanks to Sheikh Khalifa. I first came here as an 18-year old, and found so much opportunity and potential for growth. Over the past 14 years, the country has become my home where I feel safe raising my son, and it has given me the best friends. This is only possible in a land that keeps people at its core. We will miss His Highness.”

Influential leader

Indian expat Samir Kapoor, a financial advisor, said: “We have lost one of the most inspiring and visionary leaders of our times. His vision and dedication inspired many like me living in the UAE to dream and make the UAE the best place to live in. We will miss Sheikh Khalifa but we will remember him forever.”

Byron Kraemer

South African expat Byron Kraemer said: “My thoughts and prayers go out to the people of the UAE and everyone who has made a home in this beautiful country which has a tradition of strong and true leadership. Having lived in the UAE since 1998, I have had the privilege to be a part of the huge success the country has achieved under Sheikh Khalifa’s leadership. He has left a mark on the country that will never be forgotten.”

Sardar Javed Yaqoob

Pakistani expat Sardar Javed Yaqoob is also mourning the demise of the UAE President. He said: “During his reign, the UAE witnessed an era of unprecedented growth, development and prosperity.”

Mike Lees

British expat Mike Lees, director of Big Bus Tours, said: “Today is a very sad day indeed. We have lost a visionary leader. His vision and leadership have helped the UAE to become one of the finest countries in the world to live, work and visit. I would like to pass on my sincere condolence to the people of the UAE.”

Russian expat Diana Gerrard said: “The UAE is one of the safest countries to live in. And it has been possible thanks to our great leaders. Today, we have lost our President. He was a visionary. We mourn his death and pray for him to Rest in Peace.”

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Special prayers

The Sikh community and Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara Dubai UAE also mourns with sincere sadness the demise of Sheikh Khalifa. In a statement sent to Gulf News, they said: “We pray to Almighty for the departed soul to rest in eternal peace. Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara Dubai will be hosting special prayers for the departed soul on Saturday, May 14, from 7.30pm to 8.30pm at the Gurudwara in Jebel Ali Gardens.

Condolences from Pakistan Association Dubai

Pakistan Association Dubai has likewise expressed its sincere condolences. PAD president Dr Faisel Ikram said: “The Pakistani community is deeply saddened by the Ruler’s death and is mourning with their Emirati brothers and sisters. Sheikh Khalifa’s services to the UAE will always be remembered and his contribution to Pakistan’s development will always remain in our hearts. May Allah grant him the highest rank in Jannah.”