President opens Indian Islamic Centre in Abu Dhabi
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Last Updated: Thursday, November 25, 2010, 00:16
Abu Dhabi: President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday said a "cultural osmosis" over centuries had enriched both the Indian and Arab civilisations as she opened the Indian Islamic Centre here, 28 years after its foundation stone was laid by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

The construction of the building has been marked by an inordinate delay and Patil thanked the UAE government for their "generous assistance" to the realisation of the project.

Inaugurating the institution during her five-day official visit to the UAE, Patil said it is a tribute to the collective efforts of community leaders and would prove to be a valuable cultural bridge between the UAE and India.

"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," she said.

Extolling the centuries of exchanges between India and the Arab world, the President said there was a process of "cultural osmosis" between the two civilisations.

"It is not an exaggeration to say that there is part of both the cultures in all of us, whether Arab or Indian," she said speaking after inaugurating the building.

She said the Islamic heritage of India is an integral part of Indian culture and that the "sustained interface" of its culture since the 8th century "had a profound impact in all spheres of life in India".

"The Centre has an illustrious history. Its foundation stone was laid in 1982 by the then Prime Minister of India Smt Indira Gandhi, who strengthened the secular fabric of India, that we are privileged to witness today," she said.

Dwelling upon the richness the Arab and Indian civilisations brought to each other, Patil pointed out that the immense contribution of the Arab world is evident in India's monuments, its literature and its arts and culture.

"There was a process of cultural osmosis," she said. She also lauded the Indian community's hard work and dedication that has contributed "very positively to the development of the UAE".

"India and the UAE have much in common in their promotion of religious harmony and tolerance towards different shades of thoughts and beliefs. The rulers of this country have adopted benevolent policies, and provided generous support to Indian community organisations belonging to all religions," she said.


First Published: Thursday, November 25, 2010, 00:16

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