Read an amazing article today. Well, the article itself perhaps wasn’t amazing, but it alerted me to something that I thought was actually fairly monumental. And that monumental thing is an example of effective cohabitation of different faiths in practice, including the big ones, Christianity and Islam.
The article in question heralded the completed construction of a crematorium in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The official religion in the UAE is Islam and for Muslims, burial is the only acceptable practice when someone dies. However as the UAE is host to a staggering amount of migrant workers, many of whom aren’t Muslim, the Abu Dhabi government contributed the funds itself to have the crematorium built. (The funeral home has a ‘detachable crucifix’ which can be removed if the deceased is a Sikh/Hindu/Buddhist/etc.) To me, this really brings into perspective the European debate on burqa-banning in public places: I’m not a fan of the burqa due to how it dehumanises women, however the idea of governments prescribing what one can and cannot wear and how to interpret one’s religion makes me equally uncomfortable.