Dubai: COVID-19 has forced one of the largest UAE National Day celebrations by an Indian expat community group to be held virtually. However, the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) in Dubai has seized the opportunity to take this year’s celebrations beyond borders amidst the pandemic.
Dubai KMCC has announced that many people back in India are scheduled to join in with 5,000 members of KMCC from various countries participating in the virtual celebrations planned on December 4.
The 49th UAE National Day will be celebrated via a massive virtual event in which UAE government officials representing various government departments would be honoured for their services to the expat community, especially during the pandemic, said president Ibrahim Elettil.
“We have been holding month-long celebrations for UAE National Day for several decades. I have been personally involved in these celebrations since 1987,” he said.
KMCC’s annual UAE National Day celebrations used to be held over a month and included several cultural programmes, activities in sports, arts and games as well as a parade in association with Dubai Police. Senior UAE officials, top Indian diplomats and prominent businessmen used to be guests at the KMCC celebrations. Last year, the main event was inaugurated by UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan.
Commitment and solidarity
“To express our continued commitment and solidarity to this country and its leaders, we are holding virtual celebrations this year. We are inviting senior officials from the UAE to the event. Many leaders from India and KMCC members from GCC, Europe and America would also attend,” said Elettil.
Dr P.A Ibrahim Haji and Yahya Thalangara, who are on the advisory board of KMCC, said KMCC would ensure that COVID-19 does not dampen the expats’ spirit of celebrating the UAE’s Spirit of Union.
The expat group, which was lauded by the local authorities for its community services during the peak of the pandemic, would continue to serve the country and its National Day celebration is a testament to the members’ love and respect for and solidarity with the leaders of this country, they said.
Various cultural programmes would be held as part of the online celebrations in compliance with the COVID-19 safety protocols, according to advocate and legal consultant Sajid Aboobacker and Hamsa Thotti, who are the acting general secretaries of KMCC.
“We are also organising a special musical programme by artists from India,” said Aboobacker.
Dubai KMCC will also hold another virtual event to mark the Commemoration Day and pay tributes to the UAE’s martyrs on November 30, he added.