Khulna (AsiaNews) - "We want our people to have ever greater skills in the field of inter-religious dialogue" so they know "how they should behave with people of other faiths". This is what Fr. Ajit Costa, Omi tells AsiaNews commenting on the meeting that took place from May 18 to 23 at the Caritas headquarters in Khulna, Bangladesh’s third largest city.
The week of meetings and discussions focused on interreligious dialogue - which was attended by over 60 Catholics, including priests and nuns – was also promoted by the Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue (Ec-Cuird).
"We shared our experience in the field of interreligious dialogue with them - said Fr. Costa, secretary of the Ec-Cuird - and also explained the teachings of the Catholic Church on this matter, so that they can be “better equipped". The priest adds that their objectives include the need to "create a favorable environment" for dialogue and confrontation, so thatCatholics can contribute "to the removal of religious conflicts”.
Msgr. Bejoy N. D'Cruz, president of the Episcopal Commission, stresses the importance of "sharing" experiences "with people of other faiths," listening "to their stories" and understanding them in a friendly atmosphere. "Interreligious dialogue is a part - he added - but it is an exchange of opinions in an atmosphere of respect." For the bishop dialogue must lead to the understanding of the teachings and principles of a different religion while always remembering that diversity is a value.
Among the various participants AsiaNews gathered feedback from Marino D'Mondol, who is enthusiastic about the initiative which taught him important lessons. "I learned how to talk to a Muslim, a Hindu and people of other faiths," said the man, who says he will know try to "respect" the other's thinking in any future meeting and discussion.
"If we all knew how to dialogue and we put it into practice in daily life - the teacher adds - there would be no sectarian conflicts, wars, extremist attacks in this country and in the world."
An expert in Islamic law, Alamgir Hossain and Hindu scholar, Ashok, also attended the seminar. Both stressed the value of dialogue between different faiths, inspired by the teachings of their respective religions. A significant presence, at a difficult time in the country (Sunni Muslim) and characterized by targeted attacks and violence against bloggers and minorities.
Fr. Noren Baidya concluded by admitting that the situation in the field of inter-religious dialogue in Bangladesh "cannot be called satisfactory" and this is why it is "necessary" to strengthen activities, initiatives, opportunities to meet and share experiences in order to become promoters of dialogue firsthand.