Dubai: An interfaith gathering to say farewell to Bishop Paul Hinder and welcome his successor, Bishop Paolo Martinelli as the new Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, was held at Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara in Jebel Ali on Thursday.
Dignitaries in attendance were Indian ambassador Sunjay Sudhir, Major General Ahmed Al Mansoori, general secretary of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Award for Tolerance; Taleb Mohamed Al Dhanhani, director of licensing, monitoring and inspection at Community Development Authority Dubai, and around 100 people from the neighbouring churches, as well as the Hindu temple and Sikh community.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Bubbles Kandhari, vice chairperson of Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara, said: “Interfaith leadership is the call of the day. If all the religious leaders get together to educate their faithful to understand and respect each other, this will bring about interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence”.
She noted: “What we have now at this very moment can actually be an example of pluralism where we have our brothers and sisters from different faiths under one roof to mark this significant occasion of interfaith gathering.”
Dr Surender Singh Kandhari, chairman of Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara, added, “Today’s event aims to foster harmonious co-existence of different faiths living in the UAE. Our gathering is a superb showcase of how we all value the principles of moderation, inclusion and generosity in the Middle East”.
Peace and harmony
The Indian ambassador, meanwhile, praised the UAE government and the Guru Nanak Darbar for promoting peace and harmony by organising such interfaith activities.
Bishop Hinder also expressed his gratitude to Gurudwara for hosting the interfaith gathering and also thanked the UAE government for all the support during his 18 years of service in the region.
Better human family
Bishop Martinelli likewise thanked the UAE rulers for “promoting the spirit of peaceful coexistence and harmony in the country.” He said: “Religious leaders are partners in building a better human family. I stand with people of all faiths and religions in this country as a friend and a brother. All religions should work together for the common good and for the promotion of goodwill.”