Lahore: Iftar, a time to build ‘bridges’
by Shafique Khokhar

The meeting of the Inter-religious Movement for Tolerance takes place every year during Ramadan, the holy month of Islam. Activists of all religions have reiterated the need to create a country of peace.

Lahore (AsiaNews) - Creating "bridges" between religions and expressing the unity of people against those who spread hatred, extremist ideas and kill in the name of religion: with these goals the interreligious movement for tolerance (Rwadari Tehreek) organized its annual meeting two days ago. Activists of various faiths marked the occasion by sharing the meal that interrupts fasting the iftar, the evening meal held at sunset during Ramadan, the holy month of Islam.

The meeting was attended by lay leaders of all religions: Christians (Catholics and Protestants), Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Baha'is. This is an event that is celebrated every year at this time to strengthen the bonds of friendship between religious communities, in the promise to respect each other.

Samson Salamat, president of the movement, said: "Every year during Ramadan Rwadari Tehreek organizes similar gatherings and events to enhance in different parts of the country which is a display of unity against all those who are spreading hate and extremism and killing people though different forms of terrorism, using religion or sect as a tool. Today, we once again pledge to continue our struggle for a peaceful Pakistan, free from all kinds of biases and discrimination, extremism and terrorism and demand from the government to take appropriate action as per National Action Plan against all those who are a threat to peace and humanity".

The Islamic leader Allama Asim Makhdoom thanked the group for "organizing this beautiful iftar dinner with the aim of bringing all religions together for [building] peace, harmony and coexistence". "I would like to point out - he added - that Pakistan was not made for Muslims, Christians or Hindus. It was created for the human being and when we talk about humanity it means that we are all equal and with the same dignity ". The religious concluded: "This meeting is a clear message to all those who want to separate us. There is no such powerful force that can divide us, because we believe in love and harmony. May Allah bless us all and give us more courage to fight terrorism and extremism in our country ".