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     Home > Religion and Dialogue  >  2013-07-27 08:43:57
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Bangalore Archdiocese creates history with Iftar get-together

Bangalore, July 27, 2013: Befitting the novel and perhaps historic initiative from the Archdiocese of Bangalore under the enlightened leadership of Dr Bernard Moras, Muslim leaders and political leaders cutting across party lines joined the Iftar party at the Archdiocesan Paalana Bhavan. The dignitaries included Union Minorities Minister K Rehman Khan, who specially flew down from Delhi, senior Congress leaders and former union ministers C K Jaffer Sharief and C M Ibrahim, former BJP minister Mumtaz Ali Khan, former ministers Roshan Baig, T John, Congress MLAs N A Harris, J R Lobo, former MP H T Sangliana, ex-MLAs Obaidulla Ahmed Sharief, Ivan Negli, Wakf Board Chairman Abdul Riaz Khan, State Youth Congress President Rizwan Arshad, former BBMP Corporator Pradeep Kumar Reddy, A B Khader Haji, General Secretary, Malabar Muslim Association, and several other prominent Muslim leaders including Dr Taha Mateen, Chairman Accuna Hospital and President of Zamaat-e-Islami Hind Karnataka.

Though Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had promised to attend the Ifar party and the State police had made elaborate security arrangements for the chief minister’s arrival, he failed to turn as the legislature session went on till late night and was followed by a cabinet meeting. However, two ministers – Home Minister K J George and Health Minister U T Khader – turned up as the participants were having dinner.

Christianity and Islam are perhaps the two biggest and most organized religions in the world, which share similar dogma, beliefs and spiritual content besides the adherence to prayer, fasting, upholding human rights and dignity besides service and fighting for justice, especially in helping the poor and needy, said the Archbishop emphasizing that both the religions believed in one almighty God, the creator of living being.

''Human life with God is like the sky without sun,” Dr Moras said and asserting that Christians and Muslims were true brothers and sisters in faith. ''It is God, who has created all human beings as members of one family as brothers and sisters to worship and obey the almighty. It is our bounden duty to protect nature and live in peace and harmony as God’s chosen people,” he said emphasizing the need for eradicating poverty, violence, exploitation and injustice, which was still very predominant in the world and especially India, despite the enormous progress in science and technology.

The Archbishop underscored the necessity of Muslims and Christians and all those believing in God living like a family and solving all problems in a spirit of unity, give and take, cooperation, peace and justice for all. All religions must take it upon themselves to make an in-depth study of other religions and remove any misgivings or prejudices that they may have against each other as all problems and obstacles could be overcome through mutual dialogue, cooperation and tolerance.

The Archbishop said the Vatican in its much acclaimed ''Declaration on the relationship of the Church to non-Christian Religions” of 1965 had held that ''Upon the Muslims too, the Church looks with esteem. They adore one God, living and enduring, merciful and all powerful, maker of heaven and earth and speaker to men. They strive to submit wholeheartedly even to His inscrutable decrees, just as did Abraham, with whom the Islamic faith is pleased to associate itself. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as Prophet. They also honour Mary, His Virgin Mother: at times they call on her too with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgement when God will give each man his due after raising him up. Consequently they prize the moral life and give worship to God, especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.”

''Although in the course of centuries may quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Muslims, this most sacred Synod urges all to forget the past, and to strive sincerely for mutual understanding on behalf of all mankind, let them make common cause of safeguarding and fostering social justice, moral values, peace and freedom,” the Archbishop said quoting the Vatican Declaration.

Dr Moras said the Church is always ready to lend its hand friendship, help and service to its Muslim friends and people of other religions willing to accept this offer of friendship, help and service for the larger good of society and welfare of mankind. ''Our offer of friendship, cooperation and dialogue is permanently available at all times,” he said to a thunderous applause from the audience.

The Archbishop also offered the Idd Mubharak greetings in advance on behalf of the entire Christian community to the Muslim brethren on the occasion of the Id-ul-Fitr festival to be celebrated towards the month-end after the end of the 40-day fasting for the Holy Ramadan month.

Union Minister Rehaman Khan, who spoke on behalf of the entire Muslim community, expressed his heartfelt gratitude and thanks to the Archbishop for his wonderful initiative for the first time in the history of Christian-Muslim brotherly ties in the State. ''The objective of all religions is reforming and guiding their faithful and society. We owe a duty to entire society and mankind to work together for peace and harmony in society and help the needy,” he said.

Senior Congress leader and former Union minister C M Ibrahim echoed the sentiments expressed by Rehaman Khan hoped that the doors of the Archdiocese opened to the Muslim brethren must always remain open. ''The wonderful and praiseworthy initiative taken by the Archbishop is a watershed in the annals of Muslim-Christian relations in Karnataka,” Ibrahim said lauding the service of the Christian missionaries in the education, healthcare and social service sectors and said they were ''simply unparalleled.’’

''The spirit of brotherhood and love through the novel initiative of organizing the Iftar get-together in the Archdiocese marked the beginning of a long-lasting and closer relationship this year, when all the dams in Karnataka were full and overflowing,” he said assured the Christian community that the Muslims will stand united behind Christians whenever they faced any threats and challenges.

However, the most erudite, scholarly and apt response from the Muslims came from Dr Taha Mateen, President of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Karnataka, when he quoted verses from Quran to state the similarities between Islam and Christianity. Even Prophet Mohammed had said Christians were the nearest that adherents of Islam would find in terms of love and affection. Both religions believed in one almighty God, who created the entire universe and all living beings, Dr Mateen said.

Dr Mateen said both the religious minority communtieis of Muslims and Christianity shared common problems and threats. Apart from the dangers of saffronisation of educational text books and culture, he said it was unfortunate that the country was sought to be converted into religious intolerance and even forced uniformity as against the lofty ideals of unity in diversity. He also voiced concern over the attacks against Christians in Gujarat, Kandhamal and even Mangalore.

''Islam respects and reveres Jesus as a prophet and also the long and flowing beard of Jesus,” he said Muslims also shared the same sentimentality regarding beard. ''We respect and honour the real Madonna, the Mother Mary, who is always depicted with head-covering. He hoped that the openness and broad-mindedness shown by Archbishop was followed by priests and sisters running Christian educational institutions in Mangalore and elsewhere.

Fr Ronnie Prabhu, Public Relations Officer of Bangalore Archdiocese and Karnataka Region Council of Catholic Bishops, welcomed. Fr Faustine Lobo, National Director of Pontifical Misison Socieity, India, compered the entire programme and former MLA Ivan Negli proposed a vote of thanks.
(Source: Daijiworld News)


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