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Iftar at Dubai's Sikh temple: Emiratis offer namaz, have vegetarian iftar at Gurudwara

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Dubai: Around 120 Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, and Christians belonging to dozens of nationalities, including representatives of seven diplomatic missions, attended an inter-faith iftar — end of the fast — hosted by the Gurunanak Darbar Gurudwara on Wednesday.

This is the fifth time that the Sikh temple in Jebel Ali is organising a inter-faith iftar, said Surender Singh Kandhari, chairman of the gurudwara.

The temple is known for offering free food to visitors from its community kitchen, called "langar".

Exchanging handshakes and pleasantries, the guests — men, women and children — enjoyed a vegetarian iftar at a specially-arranged area in the langar while regular visitors feasted on the other side of the hall.

What was common among everyone inside the place of worship was a head covering.

Many Muslims were seen wearing the saffron coloured headgear supplied by the gurudwara.

“The UAE is the only country where one can see such perfect coexistence of all nationalities and religions… We are very proud to share with our Muslim brothers a great sense and feeling of equality and mutual respect,” Kandhari said.

Islamic scholars Abdul Hadi and Ahmad Hamid of Al Manar Islamic Centre explained the essence of Ramadan to people of other religions as there are many who generally associate the fasting month with just iftar and suhour.

The chief guest at the iftar was Mirza Hussain Al Sayegh, Director of the office of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.

“You can see tolerance, cooperation, harmony and happiness in the faces of everybody who has got together in this spiritual place. This is [an occasion] which brings the UAE and India together as well,” said Al Sayegh who has served in India as a top diplomat.

“We need everybody. Everybody in our land is important. Everybody here is a small part of a big block. In order to keep the big block intact, everybody should be linked. This iftar is an occasion for that. It also shows that Islam is not a religion that wants to seclude itself,” he told Gulf News.

In his speech, he commented: “Now we can see the whole world in turmoil. Luckily, our country will be stable and will be enjoying peace and harmony with everybody on its soil.”

Indian Consul General in Dubai Vipul said the gurudwara is doing a great service by getting all communities and religions together.

He cited the example of the gurudwara achieving a Guinness World Record by hosting breakfast for 101 nationalities in April. “I see today’s iftar also as a step in that direction. It is a great confluence of three things.”

“One, the UAE, particularly Dubai…The number of nationalities who live together in Dubai in a very liberal atmosphere is second to none right now in the world. Second is India where all religions and communities coexist together. Of course, the third is the gurudwara wherein every community and religion is welcome.”

Bisrat Ghirmay from Eritrea, who was present with her brother Teame, said it was the first time they attended such an event.

“It is a wonderful feeling. We are very delighted and the food is also very delicious.”

Mitchel Peeters from Belgium, who has been to the gurudwara to a few times earlier, said it is always a great experience to visit the temple and be with a mixture of many nationalities and religions. “This special occasion with iftar has given it an extra dimension.”

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    • The bases of rehat didn't start in Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib ji time.  Bases of rehat is from Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji and its, Ik Onkar praise, hukam, Naam, and simran.  This guy says anyone can do paath.  Then how come he doesn't understand Tvad Parsad Swaiyve?  Swaiyve say bases of shastar vidyia is paath.  If Mona can do paath without Amrit how come they are not taking following the Gurus hukam to keep hair uncut?  This guy speaks of nihangs.  Nihangs say rehit is grown and paath is done by doing praise of Akal Purakh.  This guy must be talking to nidar the giddar who drinks alcohol and this niddars foundation. First 5 Gurus didn't even pick up a sword to fight anyone.  According to this poster this means the gurus never followed the active lifestyle rehit.  Neither did anyone of the Gurmukhs of the first 5 Gurus period.  Therefore these first 5 gurus only did paath which even the hindus and Muslims were doing.  See how ridiculous these extremist liberals thinking has gone.  They want people to stop reading Gurbani.  This makes people more vulnerable and can easily be swayed by these type of people.
    • Guest Jagsaw_Singh
      Southall had it from the early 80's Ranjeet. I didn't but everyone else around me did. People from Hounslow etc would call it the 'Southall innit accent' and I don't think any of us knew at the time how it would go on to become London's dominant accent. I remember at the time feeling bad how I wasn't speaking in the same way that all my friends and cousins had begun to speak. It made me feel bad but I put it down to the fact that I was spending way too little time doing 'southall things' and way too much time doing 'white things' (thinking back...kinda gayish camp things) such as reading poetry books while sitting in Highgate cemetery. I think that was my downfall. If I never did that I would have ended up speaking the way I should have ended up speaking. Thats actually quite interesting because it's always fascinated me how our perception of London manors and neighbourhoods is based entirely on man-made concepts of London Boroughs from the 1960's. For example, some council official in the 60's decided that a London Borough of Hounslow would be made and Brentford would be part of it. So now, when we think of Brentford we automatically associate it with Hounslow just because of that one decision from the 1960's. Historically however, Brentford, along with Boston Manor and Hanwell (W7) were positively joined at the hip with Southall and all 4 were considered extensions of each other. Another interesting point to remember is how we should salute our elders rather than critcise them for the way they pronounce 'Hounslow' and 'Southall'. These old timers from the pends back home have, without even knowing it, proven to be historically 100% accurate. We laughed and criticised them for prounouncing Hounslow as 'Hunslore' and Southall as 'Sultharle',  Nobody could ever have imagined how unbelievably right they are though for Hounslow is a modern day corruption of the original name of the town 'Hundslawe' and Southall is a modern day corruption of the original name of the town 'Sulaale; (Sir De Sulaale was given the plot of land we now know as Southall as a Knight's fee........A Knight's Fee in olde English Law is the equivalent of the olde Punjabi 'Jagir'. The greatest example of a Knights Fee (jagir) in our own Sikh history is the Manjki tract. It's fascinating.....all history is fascinating but this is truly fascinating....because this 'knight's fee' was given to the Dhaliwal Misl that raised the Nishan Sahib over the Red Fort in Delhi and therefore, in one fell swoop, ruled over the whole of the Indian sub-continent. To appease the Sikh misl, the mughals gave them a jagir (knight's fee) of a tract of land in Doaba. That land became to be known as the manjki tract and it;s inhabitants the manjki jats. Where it becomes really interesting is that 95% of the pioneer Sikhs in Southall, Canada, California and what was in the late 1800's the single biggest Sikh point of immigration: Australia (or 'Telia' as it became to be known in Punjabi) came from the Manjki tract) Oh definately full-blown 'Cockney' in the traditional sense Ranjeet. My mum's a classic example but its the same with many of my uncles and aunties born in Southall in the 1950's, 60's and early 70's.......From mid 70's onwards its a very different story. Southall's history actually gives us many clues as to how this phenomena came about. In the early 1900's right up untill the 60's it was a massive industrial hub. It was famous for 2 things...firstly for being the lunatic asylum capital of England and secondly for having 59% of it devoted to industry. Ignoring the major industries that chose Southall, particularly the International American brands that chose Southall as its base such as Johnson and Johnson, Quaker Oats and the German car maker Daimler Benz.....for the subject of this conversation we need to remember 2 things: the fact that Southall was a railway town and, most importantly, the Grand Union Canal (River Brent). The water, to be honest with you, defines the history of Southall and thus the history of the Sikhs of Southall more than anything else. For example, I'm sure everyone here has visited the massive and iconic Havelock Road Singh Sabha Gurdwara but who here realises that the very spot the Gurdwara sits was one, because of it's closeness to the water, was the site of Wedgewood's China plates factory complex ?  I mention that partly because that type of industry explains why Southall attracted so many Wesh people but obviously I'm digressing here because we're trying to explain the cockney element. From 1900 to 1930 (again because of Southall's river/canal connection) more than a dozen major brick, weaving and other factories moved out of Shoreditch in the East End of London and set themselves up in Southall. Their workers came with them. And their voices came with them too.
    • for my well-practiced ear (since I was born within sound of bow bells ( technically a cockney)  southall is more like the Essex accent rather than the true cockney accent (no apples and pears, jaffas or mutton phrases etc) . which makes sense as central line is direct link to the two halfs . One classic telltale sign is the constant use of innit as punctuation, you don't get that in Cockney it's used purely in sentence context. I agree there is a difference in vowel use and cadence south of the Water , I did three years there ,new cross, new cross gate, brockley (eldest born at Lewisham hospital),  it didn't take.