Dubai: In a heartwarming gesture, Saji Cheriyan – a Christian expat, who landed in the UAE with just a few hundreds of dirhams in 2003, is gifting a mosque to hundreds of workers this Ramadan.
An Indian Christian from Kerala, 49, has built worth Rs 2.4 crores mosque for Muslim workers living in a worker accommodation that he rented out to 53 companies in Fujairah.
Speaking to Gulf News, the businessman, who has gone through ups and downs in the past 15 years, said he decided to build the mosque after he saw workers taking taxis to go to the nearest mosque.
“They have to spend at least Dh20 to go to Fujairah city or another industrial area to attend the Juma prayer in a mosque. So, I thought it will make them happy if I build a mosque here next to their accommodation.”
The construction work started more than a year ago and now the mosque is all set to open during Ramadan with the full support of Awqaf in Fujairah.
Though Awqaf officials offered free electricity, water and other facilities, however, Cheriyan accepted only carpet and sound system for the mosque.
“When word spread about my mosque, many other people also offered cash donations, construction materials like sand and paint. But I have politely refused all those offers as I would like to pay from my pocket for this mosque,” Cheriyan said.
The mosque has been named after Mariam, Umm Eisa (Mary, the Mother of Jesus).
Saji, an Orthodox Christian by birth, had previously built a church for Christian believers to pray.
The mosque premises can easily accommodate as many as 250 worshipers at a time along with facilitating for another 700 to pray in the interlocked courtyard.
In a time where people are at each other’s throats in the name of religion, race and caste, an act like this one restores our faith in humanity. It makes us believe that some people still want love, peace and harmony, and consider humanity above everything else. Thanks to beautiful souls like this man.