For a very legitimate reason, the United Arab Emirates are strongly associated with the Muslim religion and its attributes, i.e., the Quran, the almighty Allah, the Sunnis and the Shiits, etc.
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However, very little attention is given to another widespread religion, whose adepts also inhabit the UAE. Christianity, the second most popular religious movement in the world, can also be found in some of the regions of the UAE in general and Dubai in particular.
In his recent book, Christianity in the UAE: Culture and heritage, Thompson comments on the situation regarding the specified issue, explaining the current problems that the Christian people face in Dubai and providing the ways to solve these issues.
One of the doubtlessly positive aspects of Thompson’s book is that the author explores the relationships between the Muslims and the Christians beyond the traditional scope in which these relationships are usually considered.
It is rather inspiring to avoid diving into historical clashes between the two nations and learn about the bonds of friendship, tolerance and assistance that have grown between the two cultures over decades.
While it is clear that Thompson’s book was intended at convincing the readers about the necessity to establish even stronger bonds with the UAE, to his credit, Thompson handled this task very well.
The author offers extensive examples of the points of contact for the Muslims and the Christians to start their reconciliation with, and provides the ways for the people of completely different religions and philosophies to befriend each other.
It must be admitted, though, that the research has its undeniable flaws.
To start with, though Thompson clearly aims at being objective, since he tries to encompass both the concerns of the Christians in the realm of the Muslim world (Thompson, 2011), as well as the opinions of the Muslims concerning the Christian diaspora in the center of Dubai.
Sadly enough, Thompson lacks objectivity in his crusade to display the actual state of the Christian people in the Muslim environment.
One should realize, though, that the task set by the author is extremely complicated; religious conflicts have been out there for years, and a mere attempt to adopt an unbiased approach towards them counts as a successful endeavor. Anyway, Thompson’s approach seems to lack objectivity.
The given feature of Thompson’s work can be traced in such specifics of his work as the overview of the major complexities in the relationships between the Christians and the Muslims.
Thompson enumerates multiple reasons for the Christian people to feel uncomfortable within the Muslim setting, yet rarely mentions the Christian traditions that might confuse the Muslim population or seem unsettling to the latter.
Regardless of the given fact, Thompson’s book still provides a very detailed evaluation of the relationships between the Muslims and the Christians in Dubai, as well as in the UAE in general. Thus, it must be admitted that Thompson’s book has flaws.
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Written from one of the two possible perspectives, it cannot possibly encompass the variety of solutions to the current problems faced by the Christian people in Dubai. Likewise, it would be wrong to assume that the author offers a perfect solution for the Arab population.
However, as a peculiar perspective on a recently emerged issue, Thompson’s Christianity in the UAE: Culture and heritage is a very peculiar piece of writing.
Thompson, A. (2011). Christianity in the UAE: Culture and heritage. Dubai: Motivate Publishing.