A country torn apart by communal fissures needs religious leaders more badly than ever, said members of an interfaith organisation.
A forum of leaders from different religions have come together to preach the message of peace, love and universal brotherhood to counter unrest. “Peace is not a onceinawhile phenomenon, it is an everyday need. We may belong to different faiths but the love of god and love for neighbours are the common denominators of all religions,” said the archbishop of Kolkata, Reverend Thomas D’Souza, president of the United Interfaith Foundation.
The forum collaborated with the IHA Foundation and Rotary Club of Calcutta to organise a “Dialogue on Peace, Unity & Brotherhood” at Rotary Sadan on February 23, celebrated as World Understanding and Peace Day.
Apart from the Archbishop Thomas D’Souza, Singh Sahib Giani Ranjeet Singh Ji Gauhar (Jathedar, Takhat Sri Harimandir Ji Patna Sahib), Moulana Shafique Qasmi (Imam of Nakhoda Masjid, Swami Suparananda (general secretary Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission), Ervard Jimmy Taraporwalla (head priest Parsi Fire Temple), Arunjyoti Bhikku, (director of Tollygunge Sambodhi Buddhist Monastery) and Murli Punjabi (general secretary Sindhi Panchayat), were among scores of religious leaders who were part of the programme.
“This is the real Dharma Sansad, not those that give calls for bloodshed. In today's India, people are being misled in the name of religion for narrow political gains. People who have read, and understood, holy scriptures will never urge brothers to kill brothers. People who give such calls have no understanding of scriptures," said Moulana Shafique Qasmi, the Imam of Nakhoda Mosque.
Organisers said such meetings will be held regularly in the coming days.
“When people with vested interests are misinterpreting religion to instigate people, it is the duty of religious leaders to step up and unite people. In these turbulent times, the country and the world needs them more than ever before," said Satnam Singh Ahluwalia, general secretary of United Interfaith Foundation and chairman of the IHA Foundation.