02/05/2016, 13.11
INDIA – AUSTRALIA
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India-Australia interfaith pilgrimage, to reinvigorate the dialogue between faiths

by Nirmala Carvalho

Australian religious leaders arrive tomorrow in the Indian capital. From here, they embark on a pilgrimage across the country. Islam expert Fr Victor Edwin SJ has arranged various meetings and visits, including to a Delhi mosque and shrine.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Tomorrow "some pilgrims will arrive in New Delhi from Australia. They are believers from different denominations who work in their own country to build relations between people of all religions,” said Fr Victor Edwin SJ who is and an expert on Islam and interfaith relations.

Speaking to AsiaNews about the upcoming visit, he said that the group of Australians will take part in a pilgrimage across the country. The first event "will be Sunday mass (on 7 February) in Delhi’s cathedral,” followed by “a meeting with Mufti Mukarram Ahmad, imam of the Fatehpuri Masjid mosque in the capital. In the evening, we have another meeting with Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, a famous Islamic scholar."

The schedule includes activities with members of other religious communities as well. "The next day,” Fr Edwin said, “we start with another Eucharistic celebration. We then go to Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah shrine and well as Humayun's Tomb, in Delhi, where we will read Muslim religious texts, reflect, pray and meet people.”

Some of Australia’s best-known Australian religious leaders will take part in the pilgrimage. One of them is Rev John Dupuche, a senior lecturer at MCD University of Divinity, and Honorary Fellow at Australian Catholic University. His doctorate is in Sanskrit in the field of Kashmir Shaivism. He is chair of the Catholic Interfaith Committee of the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

Four lay people will be part of the group. They are: Claudia Barduhn, a Catholic student of Buddhist meditative practices; Kate Daddo, a Baha'i who is involved with the Kingston Interfaith Committee of the Kingston City Council; Pamela Ferrar, an Anglican who has participate in meetings with Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, and Orthodox believers; and Tom Thomas from the Mar Thoma Syrian Church who has spent the last 30 years studying various religious traditions.

Three people religious will also join the group. They are: Sister Corrie Van Den Bosch, of the order of the Missionary Sisters of Service; Fr Nicholas De Groot SVD, a former director of the Janssen Spirituality Centre; and Rev Robert Stickland, a married priest with the Greek Ukrainian Catholic Church who chairs the Interfaith Network of Greater Dandenong.

The group will end their visit to the Indian capital on the evening of 8 February, with a meeting with the Interfaith Coalition for Peace and representatives of the Henry Martyn Institute.

Speaking about the pilgrims from Australia, Dr Victor Edwin said that they “work in that country building relationships between people of different religious traditions.” In light of this, “they are coming to India on an interfaith pilgrimage” to “visit different places of faith and meet people of different religious traditions”.

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