Religious Leaders Urge To Bridges Of Peace And Harmony

BALLARI, DEC. 8, 2019: Prominent religious leaders of all mainstream religious faiths gave a clarion call to shed religious fanaticism and prejudices, and urged “to build bridges of peace and harmony” here at Bellary today. Religious leaders from Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism and Lingayats addressed a large gathering of audience which included priests, religious, teachers, youth and students at Adhyatma Hall, Bellary Arogya Mathe Shrine Church premises.

The religious leaders included the following: Bishop Henry D’Souza of Bellary, Fr. Praveen ofm, Provincial Superiors and President, KRCR, Sri Khazi Gulam Ghouse Siddiqui Mohammith, Sri Basavabhushana Swamiji of Siruguppa Mutt, Brahmakumari Nirmala, Sri SC Bagrecha, President, Jain Samaj, Sri Giani Harcharan Singh, Pastor John Mark and Sri Janabla Hussain Sab Ilkal. Sri Allum Veerabhadrappa MLC, was the guest of honour. Sri Charukeerti Bhattaraka Swamiji of Moodbidri Jain Mutt visited on the previous evening.

The Interreligious Meet (SARVA DHARMA SAMELANA) was organized by the Franciscan Fraternity of Bellary, Catholic Association of Bellary and the Diocesan Commission for Interreligious Dialogue to mark the 800th anniversary of the historic meeting between St. Francis of Assisi met Malek al-Kamil, the Sultan of Egypt. Speaking on the occasion Bishop Henry D’Souza said “Religious traditions are not enemies of each other. They are God’s precious gifts which have contributed to the spiritual life of the world”. “Religious followers of world religions are also not enemies of each other. They are brothers and sisters of each other, proclaiming universal fraternity of all”, Bishop added.

“Religious followers of all religions together need to fight their common enemies such as poverty, unemployment, corruption, environmental degradation and violence in the society”, insisted Bishop D’Souza. Bishop appealed to all religious leaders to inspire and lead their followers “to go the right way, doing the right thing”, shedding mutual prejudices and intolerance. Fr. Praveen OFM gave an inspiring keynote address stressing on the need of promoting interreligious peace and harmony today.

St. Francis of Assisi met Malek al-Kamil, the Sultan of Egypt, in 1219 at Damietta, where the river Nile flows into the Mediterranean. 2019 marks the 800th anniversary of that historic event of a Saint meeting the Sultan! It is the story of the saint leaving Assisi to cross enemy lines and meeting the sultan to resolve interfaith conflict, war and the search for peace. The encounter was an extra-ordinary model of interreligious dialogue.

All the heads of educational institutions, all teachers, student leaders and class leaders were urged to share the interreligious experience with rest of the students during the school assemblies and with their classmates. It would help them to contribute their mite to the promotion of interreligious fellowship and social amity. Fr. Ivan Pinto, Secretary, IRD welcomed the gathering and Fr. Prem OFM thanked. Sr. Divya FS and Sri Siddhalingappa compeered the programme.

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