Members of Christian churches in Abu Dhabi have applauded the renaming of a mosque in the capital as an example of mutual tolerance and peaceful coexistence.
The Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Mosque in Al Mushrif area was renamed Mariam Umm Eisa mosque, which translates from Arabic as Mary, Mother of Jesus.
The move was ordered by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, as a gesture to promote the social connections between religions, state news agency WAM reported.
Speaking to WAM, Rev Yousuf Farajallah, Pastor of the Evangelical Arab community in Abu Dhabi, said that the gesture reflects the spirit of Christian and Muslim brotherhood, and the principles and values of interfaith coexistence in the UAE.
Farajallah added that the gesture is "unprecedented", and reflects the eminence and originality of the UAE's leadership.
Rev Bishoy Fakhri, Pastor of the Cathedral Church in Abu Dhabi, said: "The UAE sets a real example of tolerance, which transcends ideas and slogans to become a practical reality and reaching the stage of social harmony."
Rev. Ibrahim Farouk, Patron of the Pope Tawadros Christian Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt in Abu Dhabi, also told WAM that the UAE is always leading the world in the field of religious tolerance, brotherhood and peace.
"Using the name of 'Mother Mary' on this mosque is a gesture of love and peace that we hope will be followed around the world," he added.