On his travels across the continent of Asia, Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of the Sikh religion, is said to have traversed vast areas of the Arabian peninsula. Baghdad, Medina and Mecca, where he observed the Kaaba, were on his itinerary.
Today, it is reassuring that the spirit of religious tolerance that he encountered in the 16th century can still flourish in this land. As The National reports today, the country's Sikh community will soon be celebrating the opening of its own dedicated prayer centre in the UAE.
The Dh102-million Gurunanak Darbar project, opposite the St Mina Coptic Orthodox church at Jebel Ali, will hold 900 people when it's completed in a few months time.
It is a welcome move for the nation's 50,000 Sikhs, many of whom have been holding religious ceremonies in their homes for lack of a place to pray. Sikhs in the UAE currently share the Shiva and Krishna Mandir temple complex in the Old Souk in Bur Dubai with the country's Hindu community. Thanks to the generosity of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Ruler of Dubai, who donated the land for the new centre, such makeshift measures will soon become a thing of the past.
Just as importantly, it carries on the tradition of religious openness and acceptance that Dubai, and the UAE, has long held. Long may it continue.