This March 14, 2022, handout photo from the Department of Archaeology and Tourism of Umm al-Quwain shows an ancient Christian monastery uncovered on Siniyah Island in Umm al-Quwain, United Arab Emirates.
An ancient Christian monastery, possibly dating as far back as the years before Islam spread across the Arabian Peninsula, has been discovered on an island off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, officials announced Thursday.
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 as that faith grew more prevalent in the region.
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