The Christian Science Monitor

Can religious tolerance help an aspiring Muslim power?

Indian women in saris carefully place candles at an outdoor grotto of the Virgin Mary and kneel in prayer as couples from Uganda and Nigeria pour into the nearby chapel.

Arab Chaldeans, Maronites, and Latin Catholics laugh together as they enter a unified Arabic-language Catholic church service; Egyptian and Sudanese families gather in front of the next-door Coptic church; and English expats head into the Anglican church.

Pakistani bus drivers snap pictures with their phones as 15 Filipino brides and grooms pose for wedding photos outside St. Joseph’s Church ahead of their mass wedding.

All the while, Filipinos line up for mashed purple yam cakes and polvorón shortbread at an outdoor bake sale in the church courtyard, with the Islamic call to prayer from the neighboring Jesus Son of Mariam Mosque ringing out overhead.

This is not an international festival; it’s a Sunday in Abu Dhabi.

Owing to the arrival of migrants from across the world, the collection of tiny Arab Emirates at the tip of the Persian Gulf – an international financial powerhouse and a growing diplomatic and military power in the Arab world – has become a seamless meeting place of faiths and cultures.

The United Arab Emirates is also billing itself as an interfaith leader, having declared 2019 to be a

Emirates of migrantsPatriarchs and VishnuBreaking breadNo proselytizing, no politicsRising tide of tolerance?

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor3 min readPolitics
Gender Inequality, The Stubbornest Villain In Hollywood
A documentary about gender issues in show business reminds a former congressional reporter about the way women achieved recent victories in politics.
The Christian Science Monitor5 min read
Message In A Bottle: Forensics Meets Marine Science With EDNA
A new tool in marine research known as eDNA enables scientists to capture a snapshot of ocean communities without touching a single fish.
The Christian Science Monitor3 min readScience
Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Is Improving After Years Of Work
Cities and towns in the Chesapeake Bay watershed have long struggled with pollutants. Thanks to new EPA regulations, water quality improved last year.