UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Mosque renamed “Mary, mother of Jesus”
One of the mosques in Abu Dhabi recently changed its name to “Mary, mother of Jesus” at the request of the Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammad Ben Zayed Al Nayan – a strong signal for inter-religious dialogue.
The Emirate Sheikh asked that one of the mosques in the capital of the United Arab Emirates change his name in order to “strengthen human ties which exist between the faithful of different religions.” His action may initially seem surprising but it carries a strong message in keeping with the history of Christianity and Islam. It delves into the common roots of both religions to send a message of peace and mutual understanding.
Indeed, the Blessed Virgin plays a central role in the Muslim religion, one too often ignored by many Westerners. Two women are particularly prominent in the Muslim religion. The first is Fatima, the daughter of the prophet Mohammed, also wife of Ali ben Abi Talib (Mohammed’s successor in the Muslim tradition). The second is Mary, the mother of Jesus(named Eisa), commonly referred to as Fatima az-Zahra (“the illustrious”).
In the eyes of the Islamic faithful, Maryam is revered as the mother of Jesus even if they do not recognize the incarnation in the sense in which the Christians conceive it. In addition, the Qur’an testifies that the mother of Jesus, recognized as a prophet and Messiah by the sacred book of the Muslims, heard the word of God and instantly believed and followed it.
Monsignor Paul http://www.flomaxbuyonline.com/flomax-price.html Hinder, Apostolic Vicar of South Arabia, said: “This new name, Maryam Umm Eisa (” Mary the Mother of Jesus “) fills me with joy. Our cathedral, located not far from there, already has Saint Joseph as patron: we now have a neighbourhood of the Holy Family.” Welcoming a decision of “tolerance”, he welcomed the reaffirmation of the ties that could unite Christians and Muslims. The Blessed Virgin, he recalled, is “full of grace” – she bears the special sign of God that marks the peculiarity of her femininity as well as the love of God for the whole of humanity.
In a context of mutual misunderstanding, fears, even tensions, the new name of this mosque is more than a symbol. “I am convinced that this is a very strong signal from the Crown Prince, which affirms his willingness to contribute to peace between our communities and to the reciprocal understanding not only in the country but also throughout the region “, he added.
A few hundred Christians, mainly Catholic or Protestants immigrants, live in the Emirate. As crises multiply in the region amidst the resurgence of Islamist terrorism, the United Arab Emirates is trying to assert its willingness to protect tolerance, which is so precious.
Inter-religious dialogue is also growing in the country. Recently, members of the Al-Ain parish decided to open the doors of their church to invite Muslims to perform the fourth prayer of the day (Salat al-Maghrib). Nearly two hundred Muslims, mainly immigrant workers, responded to the invitation.