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  • By The Financial District

Christian Monastery Predating Islam Found In UAE

An ancient Christian monastery built before Islam spread across the Arabian Peninsula has been discovered on an island off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, officials announced, Jon Gambrell reported for the Associated Press (AP).


Photo Insert: The monastery on Siniyah Island, part of the sand-dune sheikhdom of Umm al-Quwain, sheds new light on the history of early Christianity along the shores of the Persian Gulf.



The monastery on Siniyah Island, part of the sand-dune sheikhdom of Umm al-Quwain, sheds new light on the history of early Christianity along the shores of the Persian Gulf.


It marks the second such monastery found in the Emirates, dating back as many as 1,400 years — long before its desert expanses gave birth to a thriving oil industry that led to a unified nation home to the high-rise towers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.



The two monasteries became lost to history in the sands of time as scholars believe Christians slowly converted to Islam due to conquest as that faith grew more prevalent among desert-living nomads and tribes that littered the region.


Christians remain a minority across the wider Middle East, though Pope Francis was arriving in nearby Bahrain on Thursday to promote interfaith dialogue with Muslim leaders.


All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

For Timothy Power, an associate professor of archaeology at the United Arab Emirates University who helped investigate the newly discovered monastery, the UAE today is a melting pot of nations.


“The fact that something similar was happening here 1,000 years ago is really remarkable and this is a story that deserves to be told,” he said.


Science & technology: Scientist using a microscope in laboratory in the financial district.

The monastery sits on Siniyah Island, which shields the Khor al-Beida marshlands in Umm al-Quwain, an emirate some 50 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of Dubai along the coast of the Persian Gulf.


Carbon dating of samples found in the monastery’s foundation date between 534 and 656. Islam’s Prophet Muhammad was born around 570 and died in 632 after conquering Mecca in present-day Saudi Arabia.



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