04/14/2016, 14.31
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Thai bishop at mosque inauguration says dialogue is not a show

Mgr Andrew Thanya Vissanu Anan, deputy general secretary of the Thai Bishops’ Conference, attended the event at Bangkok’s Islamic Centre. Afterwards, he took part in a seminar with Islamic leaders and a march for peace. For him, differences “should not be a cause of conflict".

Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Mgr Andrew Thanya Vissanu Anan, deputy general secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand, attended the inauguration of a new mosque at Bangkok’s Islamic Centre earlier this week.

"We need to build more solid bridges and destroy the walls of hatred and prejudice that divide us,” he said at a seminar that followed the ceremony. The latter focused on inter-faith dialogue and the role of Christianity and Islam in a country where 93 per cent of the population is Buddhist.

In his address, Mgr Vissanu urged participants to undertake joint efforts to promote peace and harmony among various confessions, noting that "it is possible" to build a multicultural and pluralistic society.

“The differences of religions and traditions should not be a cause of conflict,” he insisted, “and the quest for peace is the responsibility of all believers.” 

Stressing the meeting’s friendly atmosphere, he said that many Muslim leaders “appreciated the efforts of Pope Francis, and the local Church's attempts at collaboration and dialogue with Muslims”.

“Interreligious dialogue should not be just an event or a show,” he explained. “We need to join hands with humility so that we can concretely explore new areas and share religious values.”

The celebrations at the Islamic Centre of Thailand included an interfaith march for peace, in which many Christians participated. 

“We further hope that we can share the ideas of dialogue with youth in schools,” Mgr Vissanu said after an exchange of gifts.

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