05/21/2016, 10.05
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Bangladesh, a seminar to "update" priests and imams and relaunch dialogue

by Sumon Corraya

The Christian Religious Welfare Trust has organized a seminar for priests and pastors. Simultaneously, the Bangladesh Islamic Foundation will take charge of forming imams. The Dhaka authorities want to promote dialogue among religious, in order to curb Islamic extremism.


Dhaka (AsiaNews) - In an effort to contain the rampant Islamic extremism in the country, the government of Bangladesh has organized the first training course for Christian priests and pastors. At the same time, the Dhaka authorities have sponsored training courses for imams. Nirmal Rozario tells AsiaNews, it is an "attempt to root out religious fundamentalism and clamp down on Islamic militants. Christian and Muslim religious leaders must build bonds and harmony between religions ".

The seminar for Christian leaders was held on 18 May. The religious - 44 Catholics and Protestants - have discussed the theme "The role of priests and pastors in caring for the faith". The meeting was organized by the Christian Religious Welfare Trust, a government agency, of which Rozario is the secretary general.

He states: "The present situation of our country imposes the religious to recognize that interreligious dialogue" is needed. The government, he adds, "has organized the same program for the Islamic leaders, through the Bangladesh Islamic Foundation".

In recent months, the Asian country has been hit by multiple acts of violence against Christians and  secular thinkers, punished for daring to criticize Islam or defending freedom of expression. According to experts, poverty - historical burden of Bangladesh - is no longer a problem for the population, which instead is now suffering more because of religious extremism.

The seminar was highly appreciated by the participants. Adventist pastor, Benedict Baroi, told AsiaNews: "We already know how to take care of the people and what are our duties, but these exercises make us feel how much our service is needed. We need to be more friendly with people of different faiths, because we are a minority and followers of Jesus Christ. "

According to the pastor, "it was a timely initiative. The government should invest more money in this type of seminar, for all faith communities".

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