Followers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), also known as Mormons, are to have their own official place of worship in the Emirate of Dubai, a first of its kind in the Middle East.

Plans for the temple were first announced in 2020 by the LDS, with construction about three years away. According to The National, the Mormon place of worship will be built in Dubai’s Expo City. “The plan for a temple in Dubai comes in response to their gracious invitation, which we gratefully acknowledge,” said LDS President Russell M. Nelson at the time.

“It will be very unique to have a temple because not every country has one,” Roland Back, a volunteer counsellor for the church’s Middle East and North Africa area was quoted as saying.

“It will serve a large population, wider than the UAE. Other members will want to visit Dubai because there is a temple.”

Currently members of the community gather weekly on Sundays for worship at a “meeting house” in Abu Dhabi built in 2013 and a hotel in Dubai . There are thought to be around 2,000 LDS adherents in the UAE.

Speaking on the plans for the establishment of the first Mormon temple in the country, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) Director of Strategic Communications, Hend Al-Otaiba, said: “UAE is proud to welcome the Latter-day Saints community to worship together with the future construction of a temple in Dubai…The temple will be the Church’s first in Middle East, symbolising the spirit of interfaith tolerance and unity upon which the UAE was founded.”

As part of the Gulf state’s commitments to promoting religious diversity, the first Hindu temple was opened in October in Abu Dhabi. There are also plans for the construction of a Jewish synagogue, which have reportedly been stalled.

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