‘Building on mutual understanding can help achieve peace’

M. Waqar Bhatti
Sunday, Apr 24, 2022

Leaders from different faiths and religious communities, including Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Baha’is, attended an Iftar dinner hosted by the UAE consul general in Karachi to promote interfaith harmony.

The Iftar, which focused on interfaith dialogue and peaceful coexistence, gathered civil society figures and representatives of different religious communities present in the city.

The scrumptious Iftar and the following delicious dinner was enjoyed by members of different faiths. Cardinal Joseph Coutts was the guest of honour on the occasion.

UAE CG Bakhit Atiq Al-Rumiti said that by building on mutual understanding, coexistence and respect for human dignity, many miracles can be achieved, including long-lasting peace, which is the need of the hour in the world.

“The UAE has shown through major milestones such as the Abraham Accords that its model of religious pluralism and tolerance makes it a haven of peace in a region known for its conflicts,” he said.

“We are deeply committed to the promotion of tolerance and peaceful interfaith coexistence in the UAE, in Sindh and Balochistan, the entire Pakistan and throughout the world.”

The interfaith Iftar demonstrated the success of solidarity derived from the intrinsic value of tolerance in the Emirati community. Caring for others, dealing with others with good morals and living cohesively are integral parts of the construct of Ramazan, and it stands as a cornerstone in the country’s culture.

Cardinal Joseph Coutts said on the occasion that this is a wonderful initiative from the UAE, in line with the Document on Human Fraternity signed by Pope Francis in Abu Dhabi in 2019.

“I pray to the Lord to bless today’s gathering so that we all learn that we are brothers, and are ready to help each other in every difficult time. It sends a big message not only to this area, but to the city and to the whole country.”

Ambassador-at-Large for Global Peace & Human Rights and Chairman of Interfaith Commission for Peace & Harmony Imam Allama Muhammad Ahsan Siddiqui was also present on the occasion.

He said that in order to promote the current dialogue between people of different faiths from tumbling into ignorance, concern and confrontation, the UAE through its many actions is enabling the search for a brotherhood between believers of different religions that is solidly rooted in the spiritual, ethical and humanistic values that the country represents.

He said that interfaith dialogue is essential in this day and age because so often religion has been a reason for conflict. He added that he looks at people from different religions as flowers in a beautiful bouquet, where each flower is unique, and has its own value and beauty.

He thanked the CG for highlighting the UAE’s services to religious freedom, tolerance and interfaith harmony, and appreciated his services to the UAE’s Karachi consulate. The CG thanked everyone for attending the Iftar dinner.

Sindh Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Church of Pakistan Vice Moderator Bishop Kaleem John, and Bishop of Karachi & Balochistan Bishop Frederick John were also present on the occasion.

Pakistan Sikh Council Chief Patron Sardar Ramesh Singh, Guru Pandit Ram Nath, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Co-chairperson Asad Iqbal Butt, Parsi community leader Tushna Patail and Karachi Dawoodi Bohra community leader Ali Asghar Abdullah Shakir also attended the Iftar dinner.

Others in attendance included Additional Advocate General Sindh Kalpana Devi, Pundit Vijay Maharaj Guswami, transgender community leader Bindiya Rana, Baha’i community leader Farsheed Roohani, She Foundation Chairperson Elizabeth Morris, MasterPeace Pakistan’s Kelash Sarhadi and MPA Mangla Sharma.