The BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, a spiritual oasis for global harmony, hosted an interfaith cultural evening called ‘Omsiyyat’ on 2 April 2024. More than 200 leaders and community members from diverse faiths and backgrounds attended the pioneering event, which helped foster the spirit of faith, friendship, unity, and reflection during the holy month.
Set against the striking backdrop of the newly inaugurated Mandir, a profound convergence of faith, culture, and dialogue took place. This momentous event was graced by the esteemed presence of several notable UAE figures, including HE Sheikh Nahayan bin Mabarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, HE Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, and HE Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development, amongst others, whose presence added a significant layer of respect and honour to the evening.
In addition to the local leadership, leaders of local religious communities were also in attendance: Rabbi Jeff Berger of the Abrahamic Family House, Rabbi Levi Duchmann, Father Lalji of the Church of South India Parish, and Baha’i community leaders.
Rabbi Jeff Berger from the Abrahamic Family House shared, “Unity in diversity is not just a principle; it is a practice, vividly demonstrated here tonight. This event symbolizes our shared journey towards understanding and respect.”
HE Sheikh Nahayan emphasized the tremendous impact of the BAPS Hindu Mandir, stating, “In these troubled times that are threatened by separatism, distrust, intolerance, and conflicts, [the BAPS Hindu Mandir] brings hope to the world… I commend the BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi for organizing this interfaith meeting… You share a respect for beliefs and an admiration for each other’s good-hearted intentions. Thank you for your commitment and dedication to promoting the values of peace, harmony, fraternity, and coexistence. Your strong resolve to work together across cultural and spiritual lines for the good of all humankind is truly noble.”
The evening was also enriched with the words of Brahmaviharidas Swami, Head of the BAPS Hindu Mandir, Abu Dhabi. While highlighting the Mandir’s message of love, peace, and harmony from His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, he expressed sincere gratitude towards HH Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan, the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, the UAE leadership, and the gathered well-wishers for their support and generosity. Recounting the emotions of a former space scientist, he stated, “That if ever there are aliens, and if aliens come to this earth, I would rather have the aliens judge our planet by this place of harmony than all the conflicts, wars and monuments of hate in this world. I would rather have aliens judge the world by what’s happening in Abu Dhabi. So be proud that Abu Dhabi is the new capital of harmony of the world!”
The gathering concluded with a vegetarian suhoor, blending Indian and Arabic cuisines, prepared by temple volunteers. Guests, including HE Sheikh Nahayan, partook in the dinner and enjoyed the time spent together as a community.
‘Omsiyyat: An Interfaith Cultural Evening’ touched the hearts of those not only in attendance, but also the community of the UAE and the world, demonstrating that, though interfaith harmony is an ongoing mission, for a moment, it has been achieved.

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