Soon after the October 4, 2022 opening of the first Hindu Temple in Dubai, prominent Islamists harshly condemned the UAE for its action and accused it of rewarding the Hindus for oppressing Muslims in India. Meanwhile, liberal Muslims praised the UAE, saying allowing for the building of the Hindu temple promotes tolerance and co-existence. The new temple is not the first in the UAE, which has had a Hindu place of worship going back decades. Bahrain, another Gulf state, has had a Hindu temple dating back to the early 19th century.
Islamists Condemn Construction Of Hindu Temple, Saying It Was Built 'While Muslims Are Being Exterminated And Killed Every Day In India'
Citing an Al-Jazeera report on the opening of the temple, Egyptian Islamist cleric Muhammad Al-Sagheer, who is also a member of the Qatar-supported International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), posted a tweet to his 1,200,000 followers condemning the UAE saying: "At the time when India is tormenting Muslims in India, demolishing mosques and harassing mosque goers, the UAE opened in Dubai the largest Hindu temple in the Arab world, whose building cost 16,000,000 dollars and occupies 2,300 square meters with the capacity of about 1,000 people. It is as if they are in a state of provoking Muslims' feelings." He concluded his tweet with the hashtag "expelling Hindu workers," calling on Arab Gulf states to expel their Hindu workers.
Turkey-based Saudi Islamist Ahmad bin Rashid Bin Saeed also condemn the UAE in a tweet in which he cited Quran 7:152: "Indeed, those who took the calf [for worship] will obtain anger from their Lord and humiliation in the life of this world, and thus do We recompense the inventors [of falsehood]." He then mentioned the temple's cost, size, and capacity and mockingly wrote: "A UAE official whispered his wish in the temple's cow ear."
Turki Al-Shalhoub, another Saudi Islamist writer with 1,000,000 followers on Twitter, where his account is described as a "parody account," condemned both the UAE and Saudi Arabia in a tweet in which he wrote: "Tell your children that the UAE opened the first Hindu temple in the Arabian Peninsula and that Bin Salman [MBS] allowed the Zionists to enter Makkah and Madina so that they know who the enemies of Islam are."
In another tweet, the pseudonymous Al-Shalhoub claimed that "radical Hindus are exterminating Muslims in India with governmental support and the UAE instead of defending them, opened the first Hindu temple in Dubai, which costs 16,000,000 dollars."
Islamist Turkish political activist Muhammet Erdoğan also posted a similar tweet to his 201,000 Twitter followers in which he mentioned the cost, size, and capacity of the temple, saying the UAE built it as the Hindus intensify their attacks against Muslims in India.
The Vienna-based Iraqi journalist Zeyad Al-Senjary stressed that "history will document that the first Hindu temple in the Arab world and the Arabian Gulf was built in the UAE and that someone bowed down and kissed a Hindu holy cow and disrespected the Arabian Oqal (headdress) while Muslims are being exterminated and killed every day in India."
"The Hindus are killing Muslims and the UAE is rewarding them by building the first Hindu temple for them" tweeted Saudi journalist Fahad Al-Ghofaili to his over 120,000 followers.
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Condemning the UAE for building the temple, retired Jordanian colonel Muhammad Alaa' Al-A'naswah asked: "What is their next destination? How are they going to their lord while committing these acts that are rejected by Muslims who love their religion."
A Qatari woman named Dr. Eman Al-Kubaisy, who has over 10,000 followers on Twitter, questioned the objective of the temple and wrote: "[Is it] for tolerance and coexistence or is it a new Paganism?"
After condemning the building of the temple for "the cow worshippers" Moroccan Twitter user Abd Al-Aziz Al-Maghribi warned that "it is a matter of time for the UAE to become a Hindu state and the Emiratis become a minority."
Liberal Muslims Praise Construction Of Hindu Temple: 'The Time Of "Our Religion Will Take Over The World" Is Over – Those Who Believe In Such Ideas Will Either Live In Prisons, Caves, Or Behind Keyboards'
In response to these condemnations, liberal Muslims praised the building of the temple and stressed that it reflects the UAE's efforts to promote peace, coexistence, and tolerance. On October 6, 2022, Emirati Twitter user Sir. Ahmed wrote: "To those who think that the Hindu temple is out of the ordinary and to those who promote a radical discourse in the UAE... rest assured that there is a temple built more than six decades ago. Respecting the religions of our partners in development is a fundamental principle in the UAE. Our tolerance is a seed that was planted by [Sheikh] Zayed. Our coexistence is the fruit of that planting."
Egyptian film creator, artist, and YouTuber Sherif Gaber praised the building of the temple in a tweet that he posted on October 5, 2022, in which he wrote: "This is the real representation of the concept of coexistence for mankind. This is the future of human beings. The time of 'our religion will take over the world' is over. Those who believe in such ideas will either live in prisons, caves, or behind keyboards."
The London-based Yemeni author and politician Ali Al-Bukhaiti congratulated the Hindus and expressed his gratitude to the UAE in a tweet he posted on October 5, 2022, in which he also wished that the UAE allow atheists and secularists to express themselves freely.
BBC Arabic TV host Noran Sallam wrote that "the UAE has advanced in promoting religious tolerance and religious freedom" and noted that until recently, "it was difficult to imagine [such things] would take place in an Arab country."
The Greece-based Syrian writer and social media influencer Sfouk Al-Shikh shared the news of the opening of the temple and expected that Saudi Arabia would follow in the footsteps of the UAE. He wrote: "It is just a matter of time. This is coexistence and accepting those whose myth is different than mine. What you see as myth for the Hindus, the Hindus see your worshiping as the ultimate myth..."
Praising his government and addressing the critics including Al-Jazeera, Twitter user Ayoub Yousif with over 46,000 followers wrote: "The UAE is the symbol of tolerance and love. Wanting to practice your religious rituals in their countries and refusing to allow them to practice theirs in your country is selfish."
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