ISIS and many Muslim nations invariably set a bad example of intolerance, but in the Muslim state of the UAE led by Dubai, an aura of tolerance prevails. There was a time when restrictions were imposed on celebrating Christmas but all that is history now. In the UAE Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and vice-president and prime minister of the UAE has put forth an atmosphere of tolerance that has permeated the entire country. This message of tolerance brings out that the Islamic scriptures can be interpreted differently from the interpretation of the hard-liners.

There are no restrictions whatsoever on the celebration of Christmas and expatriates who are Christians from the USA, the Philippines, and the Indian state of Kerala are celebrating Christmas with fervor. The churches are lit and the faithful are flocking to them.

Expatriates and Christmas

The UAE has a large expatriate population from the Philippines and Kerala who are predominately Christian. This Christian population is celebrating Christmas with get-togethers and functions. Christians are allowed to take a holiday on this day and can celebrate Christmas as they deem fit.

The UAE has 35 churches with an overall population of 9% Christian. This is a festive time in Dubai and the UAE, and Christians are celebrating the festival with fervor. The local population which is almost 100% Muslim, as well as the government, are about as liberal and tolerant as it can get.

Tolerance in UAE

This tolerance does not only extend to the Christians, but Hindus and Sikhs can also celebrate their festivals with no hint of discrimination.

The UAE has one of the largest gurdwaras at Jebel Ali and the Sikh temple carries on its tradition of Langar (free food) like in Indian Punjab. Hindu festivals like Dussehra and Ganesh Chaturthi are celebrated with gusto. Recently, even a Hindu crematorium was allowed in the UAE.

The UAE remains a shining example of tolerance and respect for all religions, and a lot of credit for this must go to the men who rule the UAE.

They are farsighted and show the world the true face of Islam.

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