The Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Mosque in Al Mushrif, a district in Abu Dhabi, UAE, has been renamed to ‘Mariam, Umm Eisa,’ meaning ‘Mary Mother of Jesus.’

According to a report in Gulf News, the Abu Dhabi crown prince, Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan ordered the renaming of the mosque “to consolidate bonds of humanity between followers of different religions.”

Reacting to the renaming of the mosque, a senior chaplain at St Andrew’s Church, Andrew Thompson said, “We are delighted that we are celebrating something that we have in common between both our faiths.

“Mary, as the mother of Jesus, is of course a holy, special figure in our communities. She is a woman who symbolises obedience to God.

“We look forward to growing in deeper understanding with our neighbours, and we celebrate with them the new name of the mosque,” Thompson said.

Jeramie Rinne, senior pastor of the Evangelical Community Church in Abu Dhabi, also hailed the news.

“Mohammad has made another generous gesture of religious tolerance in renaming the mosque.

“The UAE continues to set the pace in this region for peaceful coexistence and cooperation. We are very encouraged and feel blessed to be a part of this nation,” he said.

A church in Al Ain was said to have recently opened its doors for Maghrib prayers.

Church workers reportedly laid down carpets on the wooden floor for over 200 Asian Muslim workers to say their prayers.

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