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Emiratis feel at home in London.

Byline: The British capital's long-established culture of tolerance makes it a haven for visitors of all nationalities.

If Dr Samuel Johnson said "When you tire of London, you tire of life" more than three hundred years ago, it is because originality, civilisation and decorum lie deep-seated in this huge metropolis.

No inhabitant nor visitor will indeed tire, unless such inhabitant or visitor is tired of life itself, as said by the above-mentioned English thinker. London itself, continues to open its arms in welcome of every passer-by, newcomer and resident.

I have not met any UAE or Gulf citizen who does not fancy living in this city, which has become a domicile for all kinds of Arabs and other races. The demographic mosaic has become dominant in the English city, or in other words, in the global metropolis,

People tend to like London and English cities in general because the English are polite and they treat foreigners living in England the some way they would like them to treat English people when they go abroad. That is to say, what an English man likes for himself, he likes for others; and once a person reaches this high level of morals, he is then on the threshold of true civilisation and sophistication.

An indication about the English people's, or say most of the English people's, finely civilised behaviour is the fact that they are tolerant and readily receptive of alien cultures and traditions. They do not attempt to change such cultures and traditions except amicably or by use of a convincing method and only in one case, i.e. when they feel that these practices of foreigners who live among them are becoming a source of nuisance and disrupt their social and cultural structure. At this point, the English people could start a confrontation. However, it is a logical confrontation that does not reflect any retaliatory, coercive or forcible spirit.

After the unfortunate 9/11 events when some Muslims were accused as perpetrators thereof, the Muslim community in Britain felt uneasy. However, any fair and unagitated person could not detect any negative aspects in interaction at a disturbing level. I have an Arab friend from another Arab country, who is pious and peaceful. He told me that he, together with a group of his friends, have bought an old church in their district in North-West London and turned the church into a mosque to perform prayers.

He was very happy about this achievement. So l asked him whether any of his English neighbours acted in any violent manner or created a nuisance? He said there was no such express act in public but there may have been some hidden outrage. I told him, hidden matters are known only by Allah.

Wouldn't you agree with me, dear reader, that this is a proof of the English people's refined conduct, that they are a tolerant nation receptive of others even if those others have alien cultures and traditions? He said yes, this is a perceptible fact about the people of this good country.


Emiratis have a long and old relationship with the English people dating back to approximately two hundred years. When visiting England, especially its capital, they feel it is close to their hearts, starting from the good sentiments together with everything that satisfies the taste of Gulf nations in relation to culinary and dress code. London always accommodates their wishes.

To make London even more delightful is the presence of Dubai National Bank, which is considered a social club for Emiratis where they can spend hours of quality time. The premises offers to its visitors and customers quality services that make them feel close to their homeland.

In mentioning the Dubai National Bank establishment in London, we have to mention one of this bank's officers, namely Bu Aref (Abdul Lateef Al Mulla) who plays a great role in this establishment and is a fine model of a warm-hearted and friendly Emirati.

I was in London last year during the month of Ramadan and had a wonderful experience that would rarely happen elsewhere in Europe. Al Mulla used to hold an iftar banquet every day at his house where all UAE, Gulf and Arab citizens were welcomed and where they felt among their own people and families. Bu Aref, as usual, would welcome all the guests with his warm smile to add finesse to the daily occasion.


Abdul Ghaffar Hussain is a UAE researcher and writer.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Oct 10, 2008
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