President opens Indian Islamic Centre in UAE


Abu Dhabi: President Pratibha Patil, who is on a visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Wednesday inaugurated the Indian Islamic Centre (IIC) here and said the centre will prove to be a cultural bridge between the two countries.

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“IIC will no doubt prove to be a valuable cultural bridge between the UAE and India. It stands as a symbol of celebrated links between the two countries,” she said.

“India and the UAE have much in common in their promotion of religious harmony and tolerance towards different shades of thoughts and beliefs,” she added.

The foundation stone of the IIC was laid in 1982 by the then Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi.

Patil said: “The Indian Islamic Centre is a tribute to the collective efforts of community leaders. It is, indeed, a reflection of the strength of character of the Indian diaspora, in nurturing its links with the mother country, while successfully adapting to the local conditions in the host countries.”

The president also praised the UAE rulers for supporting the Indian community here.

“I understand that the UAE is home to many nationalities that are living in perfect harmony with each other. This “unity in diversity” is also a hallmark of our society,” Patil said.

She said that historically India has been the meeting place of diverse races and cultures. Indian civilization shared its richness with other cultures and was itself enriched by this interaction.

“The immense contribution of the Arab world to our heritage is visible in our monuments, literature, language, administration, arts and culture,” the president said.

Earlier in the day, Patil also travelled to Dubai and met Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The two leaders discussed ways to further promote economic, trade, investment and cultural relations.

The president is on a two-nation tour to the UAE and Syria, aimed at enhancing economic and energy ties with the region. As part of her nine-day trip, Patil arrived in Abu Dhabi Sunday and is scheduled to leave for Syrian capital Damascus Friday.