09/26/2016, 11.25
BANGLADESH
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Dhaka, Islamic-Christian couple: "Coexistence is possible"

by Sumon Corraya

Ashim Gomes, Christian, and Munira Islam, Muslim, have been married for 11 years. They have an eight year old daughter, and have chosen to baptize her. The couple speak of their joys and their sorrows at a pastoral meeting organized by the archdiocese. The major disagreements arise when both try to convince the other that their religion is the best.

 

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - The Archdiocese of Dhaka organized a pastoral encounter in which couples shared their experiences of married life. The ministry took place September 22 to 24 in the archbishop's headquarters and 259 people took part, including Catholics, priests and nuns.

Participants included a mixed couple, Ashim Gomes, Christian, and Munira Islam, Muslim. The two have been married for 11 years and have a daughter of eight, whom they have decided to baptize. They told AsiaNews: "It's really a great challenge to be a mixed couple. We love each other very much, but sometimes at home there are discussions over our religions. We both try to convince the other that his is the best religion. "

auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Dhaka, Msgr. Shorot Francis Gomes, said: "We never encourage intermarriage, but they exist. We asked Ashim and Munira to share the difficulties of their union, the joys and the sorrows. In this way people can understand fully the reality of a mixed marriage, and advise their children to reflect before getting married”.

The couple were married in a government court and then they received the blessing of the Church as a mixed couple. The parents of both tried in vain to advise them against their marriage, but in the end they had to give up in front of their love.

Ashim, who works in the film industry and attends the Tuital parish, says: "At first, my father could not accept our relationship. Now my wife's parents love me and gift us meat from the ceremony of Eid-al-Adha [ "festival of sacrifice to God", which concludes the pilgrimage to Mecca, ed]. Also our families have good ties".

Munira despite living in a Catholic family, continues to practice her faith. "It was my mother-in-law - she says - who encouraged me to keep my religion alive ".

She respects the faith of her husband and accompanied him along with his daughter to all religious functions. She shares in the joy of Christmas prayer times, Easter and other Christian holidays. She is also an expert cook of Christmas cakes, but admits that she cannot be a point of reference to her daughter. "When she asks me questions on the catechism – she says - I am not able to answer her. I tell her to ask her father or grandmother".

Although the couple is united by a deep love, both spouses say that sometimes disagreements arise as to which religion is the best. Which is why they asked those present to pray for his family.

During the seminar, other couples talked about their married life. Leo and Albina, both Catholics, said: "Family life becomes joyful with the recitation of the Rosary, sharing meals, the love for the elderly and the poor. We forgive one another and for that we are a happy couple. "

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