Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 29 October 2020

School pupils deliver joyous festive message of harmony from the UAE and UK

The UAE Embassy in the UK is sending out Christmas cards designed by young people in the Emirates

The UAE Embassy in the UK is sending out it season's greetings by using a Christmas card designed by 16-year-old Lois Gale. Chris Whiteoak/The National
The UAE Embassy in the UK is sending out it season's greetings by using a Christmas card designed by 16-year-old Lois Gale. Chris Whiteoak/The National

UAE school pupils of different faiths were brought together by the spirit of Christmas to deliver a vital message of cultural diversity and tolerance.

The UAE Embassy in the UK is sending out Christmas cards designed by a group of Muslim pupils and a British learner to celebrate the Christian holiday.

The designs, commissioned by the Embassy’s Deputy Head of Mission, Rowda Al Otaiba, both feature a Christmas tree, a symbol of the season.

The cards were created by Muslim pupils across the campuses of Emirates National Schools and Lois Gale, a British teenager and congregant of St Thomas Church Anglican Church in Al Ain.

Lois, who is 16, said she was surprised, but delighted, her design depicting people of different cultures, including Emiratis, exchanging gifts around a Christmas tree, was chosen.

“The first thing I thought of was about how to make it more about people giving presents and to be associated with people around the UAE, rather than religion,” said the Brit, who is a pupil at Al Ain Academy.

“As international residents, we associate Christmas with the people rather than the place.”

A second e-card crafted by pupils at Emirates National Schools shows an Emirati Ghaf tree, the logo of the Year of Tolerance, transforming into a Christmas tree to the tune of the traditional carol, 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas'.

Lois Gale's eye-catching Christmas card celebrates inter-faith harmony. Chris Whiteoak/The National
Lois Gale's eye-catching Christmas card celebrates inter-faith harmony. Chris Whiteoak/The National

Charlie Lloyd-Evans, the chaplain of Lois' church, said the initiative was a “wonderful” example of the UAE’s culture of tolerance.

“We have great religious freedom and the tolerance of this country is absolutely incredible. I don’t think people are aware of that,” said Ms Lloyd-Evans, of St Thomas.

“Choosing to use a Christmas card in itself just says an awful lot about the UAE as a country.”

Mansoor Abulhoul, the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the UK, said the cards “reflect the diverse mix of cultures and religions that call the UAE home”.

“My colleagues at the UAE Embassy in London and I send our warmest Christmas wishes to all our friends in the UK and the UAE who celebrate,” he said.

“We are so proud of our country’s work to promote interfaith tolerance and coexistence and look forward to building upon this legacy in 2020 and beyond.”

Updated: December 17, 2019 03:12 PM

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