An interfaith iftar to know, respect and stand in support of each other was held at the Bishop’s House on Friday evening with representatives of various religions.
Interfaith programmes promote unity and brotherhood and appreciate other faiths, said an organiser.
The iftar celebrated “oneness and brotherhood” in a city that upholds these values, said Reverend Paritosh Canning, bishop of the Calcutta diocese of the Church of North India.
“There is a need for unity and acceptance and oneness. This unity is strong in Bengal and our state could be an example for others,” he told The Telegraph.
Reverend Canning also said the purpose of the evening was to “reinforce trust between diverse groups and to strengthen the unity and understanding between all religions and faiths, which is necessary”.
Dialogue and peaceful coexistence were themes that kept coming back in conversations around the programme.
Reverend Thomas D’Souza, archbishop of Calcutta; Reverend Canning; Satnam Singh Ahluwalia, general secretary, Gurdwara Behala; Arunjyoti Bhikku, director, Tollygunge Sambodhi Buddhist Monastery; Munni Mani Kumar Maharaj (Jain monk); Moulana Syed Zaki Hasan Rizvi; Swami Vedaswarupananda of Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, and many others participated in the iftar, which was organised by the United Interfaith Foundation and IHA Foundation.
“Dialogue between people of different faiths would save humanity from tumbling into ignorance and confrontation. We all need more of these programmes and actions that promote unity and brotherhood... and make us understand each other better," said Ahluwalia, who is associated with both the United Interfaith Foundation and the IHA Foundation.
“We need to understand that religious disharmony and disruption are man-made for their own purposes. They are not the creation of a superpower that we may believe in,” said Maulana Qari Fazlur Rahman, who could not be present.
Archbishop Thomas D’Souza said the event “strengthened the bond of unity, harmony and peace among the participants and the communities they represented”.