Dubai's majestic Hindu temple opens to public on Dussehra

News Network
October 5, 2022

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Dubai, Oct 5: A grand Hindu temple, which was inaugurated last night, opened its doors to idol worshippers and visitors on the occasion of Dussehra in Jebel Ali area of Dubai. The temple is an extension of the Sindhi Guru Darbar Temple, one of the oldest Hindu temples in the UAE.

"Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance & Coexistence & Amb @sunjaysudhir inaugurated the new Hindu Temple in Dubai. On the occasion, Ambassador Sunjay Sudhir thanked the UAE Government for their support to the 3.5 million-strong Indian diaspora in the UAE," the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi tweeted.

A powerful message of tolerance, peace and harmony, bringing together people from various faiths, marked the official opening ceremony, the Khaleej Times newspaper reported.

Priests chanted “Om shanti shanti Om” in a peace salutation and musicians playing the tabla and dhol — Indian drums — greeted people as they entered.

The 'worship village' in Jebel Ali now houses nine religious shrines, including seven churches, the Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh Gurudwara, and the new Hindu house of worship.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was organised in the main prayer hall.

Sheikh Nahyan was joined by Ambassador Sudhir, CEO of the social regulatory and licensing agency for the Community Development Authority (CDA), Dr Omar Al Muthanna and trustee of the Hindu Temple Dubai, Raju Shroff.

Ahmed Abdul Karim Julfar, director-general of the Community Development Authority, was also present at the event.

Over 200 dignitaries, including the heads of diplomatic missions, religious leaders of several faiths, business owners and Indian community members were also present at the glittering opening ceremony.

Sudhir said: "It is welcome news for the Indian community that a new Hindu temple is being inaugurated in Dubai today. The temple's opening serves the religious aspirations of the large Hindu community living in the UAE.

"The new temple is adjoining a Gurudwara, which was opened in 2012. We are honoured that Sheikh Nahayan inaugurated the new Hindu temple in Dubai. We thank the graciousness and generosity of the Dubai Government for providing land for the temple and facilitating its construction," the Indian envoy said.

Plans to construct the 70,000-square-foot house of worship were announced in 2020, shortly after the Covid-19 pandemic struck the city.

The temple features detailed hand carvings, ornate pillars, brass spires and striking lattice screens that blend Indian and Arabic architecture.

Speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the opening ceremony, Shroff said: "The temple opening in Dubai is a dream come true not just for Hindus, but for Indians all over the UAE. The temple is a true representation of how we perceive religion – bringing cultures together."

"Despite Covis-19, construction timelines were not hampered because of the support of the Dubai government. The Hindu Temple Dubai is truly a remarkable icon of how receptive and compassionate Dubai and the Government of the UAE are. Whether it was in 1958 to launch the first 'temple' in the country to the Hindu temple now, the Emirati generosity remains."

Pre-registration is required to visit the temple and devotees can register online before arrival.

By the end of the year, there will be a spacious community centre where Hindu ceremonies, rituals and prayers can take place, including weddings.

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News Network
May 19,2024

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A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi suffered a “hard landing” on May 19, Iranian state media reported, without immediately elaborating.

Mr. Raisi was traveling in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province. State TV said the incident happened near Jolfa, a city on the border with the nation of Azerbaijan, some 600 kilometers (375 miles) northwest of the Iranian capital, Tehran.

Traveling with Raisi were Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, the governor of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province and other officials, the state-run IRNA news agency reported. One local government official used the word “crash” to describe the incident, but he acknowledged to an Iranian newspaper that he had yet to reach the site himself.

Neither IRNA nor state TV offered any information on Mr. Raisi’s condition.

Rescuers were attempting to reach the site, state TV said, but had been hampered by poor weather conditions. There had been heavy rain and fog reported with some wind. IRNA called the area a “forest.”

Mr. Raisi had been in Azerbaijan early Sunday to inaugurate a dam with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. The dam is the third one that the two nations built on the Aras River. The visit came despite chilly relations between the two nations, including over a gun attack on Azerbaijan’s Embassy in Tehran in 2023, and Azerbaijan’s diplomatic relations with Israel, which Iran’s Shiite theocracy views as its main enemy in the region.

Iran flies a variety of helicopters in the country, but international sanctions make it difficult to obtain parts for them. Its military air fleet also largely dates back to before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Mr. Raisi, 63, is a revolutionary who formerly led the country’s judiciary. He is viewed as a protégé of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and some analysts have suggested he could replace the 85-year-old leader after his death or resignation from the role.

Mr. Raisi won Iran’s 2021 presidential election, a vote that saw the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic’s history. Raisi is sanctioned by the U.S. in part over his involvement in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 at the end of the bloody Iran-Iraq war.

Under Mr. Raisi, Iran now enriches uranium at nearly weapons-grade levels and hampers international inspections. Iran has armed Russia in its war on Ukraine, as well as launched a massive drone-and-missile attack on Israel amid its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It also has continued arming proxy groups in the Mideast, like Yemen’s Houthi rebels and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

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News Network
May 22,2024

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Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has led prayers over the bodies of President Ebrahim Raeisi and his companions in Tehran as millions of people gathered to hold funeral procession.

The martyred lost their lives in a tragic helicopter crash in the northwestern province of East Azarbaijan.

The mass public received the coffins of the eight victims of the crash at the University of Tehran on Wednesday morning before Ayatollah Khamenei led prayers on the bodies.

World leaders, presidents, ambassadors and international personalities as well as high-profile figures of the Axis of Resistance, including Ismail Haniyeh, the political bureau chief of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, and Sheikh Naim Qassem, deputy secretary-general of Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, attended the ceremony.

The millions-strong procession started from the University of Tehran to the iconic Azadi Square.

Iranians attended a ceremony at Imam Khomeini Mosalla of Tehran as part of mourning ceremonies in the late hours of Tuesday to pay homage to President Raeisi and his late associates.

The northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz and the holy city of Qom were on Tuesday morning and evening the scene of millions of people who had gathered to pay tribute to Raeisi.

The Leader said on Monday that he received the bitter news of the martyrdom of the popular, competent and hardworking president and his companions with great sorrow.

Ayatollah Khamenei noted that the tragic incident happened when Raeisi and his team were making an attempt to serve the Iranian people.

The entire period of responsibility of this noble and devoted man, both during the short term of the presidency and before that, was completely spent in non-stop efforts to serve the people, the country and Islam, Ayatollah Khamenei emphasized.

“Dear Raeisi did not know fatigue,” the Leader said, adding that the Iranian nation lost a sincere and valuable servant in this tragic incident.

Speaking at the ceremony in Tabriz, Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahdidi said that Iran is mourning the loss of a beloved, popular, and humble president.

The Iranian nation is also saddened by the death of a foreign minister who left active diplomacy in the critical moments of the resistance as his legacy, Vahidi added.

He also praised the constructive efforts of the late governor of East Azarbaijan province and the province's Friday prayers leader.

“We had a bad landing in this matter, but we will have a brilliant rise,” Vahidi stressed.

On Sunday, the helicopter carrying Raeisi and his entourage crashed as it was on its way to Tabriz, the capital of Iran’s East Azarbaijan province, from a location on the border with the Republic of Azerbaijan where the Iranian president had opened a major dam project.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and two senior provincial officials along with crew members and bodyguard also died in the crash.

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News Network
May 20,2024

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State media in Iran have confirmed the death of President Ebrahim Raisi and companions after the helicopter he was travelling in crashed in poor weather in an eastern province.

With Raisi were Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, East Azarbaijan Gov. Malek Rahmati, East Azarbaijan Imam of Friday Prayer Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem, and a few other leaders and bodyguards. 

The reports came after rescuers from the Iranian Red Crescent said they had found the wreckage of the helicopter, which was also carrying the country’s foreign minister and other officials, and that there was “no sign of life”.

Rescue teams fought through dense fog, blizzards and mountainous terrain to reach the wreckage in East Azerbaijan province early on Monday, but state television gave no immediate cause for the crash. 

“President Raisi’s helicopter was completely burned in the crash … unfortunately, all passengers are feared dead,” the Reuters news agency reported, citing an unnamed Iranian official.

Raisi, 63, was elected president on his second attempt in 2021, and since taking office, has overseen a tightening of morality laws, a bloody crackdown on antigovernment protests triggered by the death in custody of 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini, and taken a tougher approach to nuclear talks with world powers.

Last month, he ordered an unprecedented drone-and-missile attack on Israel, following an alleged Israeli strike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus which killed 13 people including a top commander and his deputy.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds ultimate power in Iran, had earlier sought to reassure Iranians, some of whom turned out to pray for Raisi’s wellbeing, saying there would be no disruption to state affairs.

‘We found it’

Raisi was travelling home to Tehran when state television said his helicopter made a “hard landing” near Jolfa, a city on the border with Azerbaijan, some 600km (375 miles) northwest of the Iranian capital. Later, state media put the crash location farther east near the village of Uzi, but details remained contradictory.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian was also on the flight, as well as the governor of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province and other officials and bodyguards, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

Earlier on Monday, Turkish authorities released what they described as drone footage showing what appeared to be a fire in the wilderness that they “suspected to be [the] wreckage of [a] helicopter”. The coordinates listed in the footage put the fire some 20km (12 miles) south of the Azerbaijan-Iranian border on the side of a steep mountain.

Footage released by the IRNA showed what the agency described as the crash site, across a steep valley in a green mountain range. Soldiers speaking in the local Azeri language said: “There it is, we found it.”

Shortly after, state TV in an on-screen scrolling text, said: “There is no sign of life from people on board.” It did not elaborate, but the semiofficial Tasnim news agency showed rescuers using a small drone to fly over the site, with them speaking among themselves saying the same thing. The footage showed the tail of the helicopter and burnt debris all around it.

Under the Iranian Constitution, if a president is confirmed dead, Iran’s vice first president takes over and a new presidential election would be called within 50 days.

First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber already had begun receiving calls from officials and foreign governments in Raisi’s absence, state media reported.

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