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News Release

Sikhs and Latter-day Saints in UAE Join for Annual Service Project

Interfaith Collaboration in Dubai

An ongoing interfaith collaboration in the United Arab Emirates is now blessing some of the workers who are helping to build the rapidly growing city of Dubai. The Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara, a Sikh temple, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined together on January 16, 2022, to distribute water flasks as a thank you to 5,000 workers.

“We partnered with the Church of Jesus Christ. We are here today; every year we do a humanitarian act where we are supporting the needy,” said Dr. Surender Kandhari, chairman of the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara.

The service project was part of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara, which is the largest Sikh temple in the Gulf region and hosts over 50,000 devotees in the UAE. The gurudwara offers the daily Sikh tradition of langar, a free vegetarian meal, to anyone who walks through its doors. Since its opening in 2012, the gurudwara in Dubai has served free meals to over eight million visitors.

Dr. Surender Kandhari reflected on the significance of the milestone, “In 2012 we opened the doors of this institution where we believe that all are one, we are children of one God, and we are here to serve humanity.”

“We hardly give when material things are what we give. When you give of yourself, that is when you actually give,” said Dr. Bubbles Kandhari, vice chairperson of the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara. “[The Latter-day Saints] put their heart and soul into everything and they inspire us to do so much more. And together, this makes an absolutely amazing partnership.”

Event participants included members of the Sikh and Indian communities across Dubai, as well as Latter-day Saints from Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. As a sign of respect to their Sikh friends, the Latter-day Saints covered their heads and removed their shoes while in the gurudwara.

Major General Ahmed Khalfan Al Mansouri of the International Institute for Tolerance, Dubai, and Dr. Aman Puri, consul general of India attended the event.

“As human beings there is far more which connects us which is similar than what divides us,” said Dr. Puri. “So, I would like to congratulate the Guru Nanak Darbar for this partnership with the Latter-day Saints. And I would like to really say that I feel truly blessed to be amongst all of you, sitting here as brothers and sisters.”

David and Judith Kirkham, Church representatives in Dubai, were also guests at the gurudwara. “It is wonderful to work with people who love God and want to serve their fellow man,” said Judith Kirkham.

“The UAE has perhaps the greatest variety of people from more countries, more backgrounds, more religions than anywhere else in the world,” said David Kirkham. “This is a country that both promotes and practices tolerance.”

The collaboration between the Sikhs and the Latter-day Saints is seen by many as an example of interfaith connection and peaceful coexistence. The two faiths have been working together since November 2015, when they teamed up to assemble hygiene boxes for those in need. Since then, the two groups have worked together to distribute backpacks filled with shelf-stable food and blankets.

“Whatever we have,” said Dr. Bubbles Kandhari, “we tried to give as much as we can. And when you see the joy in the other person’s face, your joy becomes multi fold.

The Church’s Middle East/Africa North Area Presidency extended a letter of congratulations on the 10th anniversary of the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara, saying in part, “The Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara stands as a beacon of selfless service in the region, providing nourishment, worship, and hope to thousands each week. We look forward to many more years of friendship and collaboration between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara.”

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