Markaz ICF Welfare Team volunteers help perform burial of Maria George at Jebel Ali cemetery. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Muslim youth from a Dubai welfare group helped in the last rites of a Christian visitor from India who died here recently.

Maria George, a native of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, had arrived in Dubai on a visit visa. She passed away last Sunday; she was 62.

Her daughter, who lives in the UAE, approached many offices and people so her mother, a non-UAE resident, could be buried here (normally, deceased visitors are repatriated to their home country). Uncertainties surrounding flights and restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have confounded such situations.

Taking on the responsibility

The daughter eventually reached the Dubai office of Markaz, a welfare group. Realising her plight, Markaz Dubai decided to shoulder the responsibility of arranging a local funeral and burial for Maria George. With help from the ICF (Indian Cultural Forum) Welfare Team of Markaz, the daughter was granted special permission for the last rites of her mother to be held here.

Spirit of harmony

Maria George was buried with the help of the Markaz ICF Welfare Team on Friday at the Jebel Ali Church cemetery. Markaz volunteers Sajid Aslami, Nazir Chokli, Saneer Varkala and Shamsir Chokli led the obituary service.

The family thanked Markaz volunteers and Father Michael Cardoz of the church extended his regards for the help of the ICF volunteers. Father Cardoz described it as a first such experience of humanity and religious harmony during his three decades of priestly service here.

UAE’s inspiration

Muneer Mohiyadeen, Markaz Global Media Coordinator, said: “This is a great inspiration from the UAE, which is the first country to establish a Ministry of Tolerance. It follows the policy and spirit of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE, to make this the land of peace and tolerance. That is why we also want to spread this message to all communities.”

He added that Markaz, as an NGO, also wanted to join hands with officials in combating the pandemic. Forming partnerships between organisations and communities is a lesson taught by the UAE leaders, said Mohiyadeen.