Indian Christian Businessman in UAE Gifts Mosque to Workers on Ramadan
Saji Cheriyan, a 49-year-old businessman from Fujairah, has a net worth of Dh68 million.
An Indian businessman living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is celebrating Ramadan by making a mosque for hundreds of workers in Fujairah, according to local reports.
Saji Cheriyan, 49, a Christian himself, surprised many when he said that he wanted to build a mosque for Muslim workers in one of the accommodations he rents out to 53 companies in Fujairah.
The mosque, which was built at a cost of Dh1.3 million in the East Ville Real Estate complex in Al Hayl Industrial Area, can accommodate 250 worshippers at a time, while 700 more can pray in the interlocked courtyard of the mosque.
Saji went to the UAE in 2003 from Kayamkulam, Kerala. He is an Orthodox Christian by birth, and has previously built a church for his parish in the city of Dibba in Fujairah. His net worth is Dh68 million.
“I have grown up seeing communities living together in utmost harmony. We celebrate all religions’ festivals and I don’t judge or treat people based on religion, caste, color or nationality. The UAE is another example of communal harmony and tolerance,” Saji told Gulf News, adding that he made the mosque since he saw that workers had to spend Dh20 to go to Fujairah city or another industrial area to attend the Juma prayers in a mosque.
“So, I thought it will make them happy if I build a mosque here next to their accommodation,” he told the publication.
He also said that though he was offered support for the mosque, he refused it as he wanted to pay for it himself.
“The Awqaf officials were surprised and happy when they got to know I am a Christian who wishes to build a mosque. They have offered me all the support and were ready to offer free electricity and water and other facilities,” said Saji. He has accepted the carpet and loudspeaker from the board. Other people offered him cash donations, and construction material like sand and paint, but he refused those.
Saji will be naming the mosque, Mariam, Umm Eisa (Mary, the Mother of Jesus).