04/10/2024, 18.27
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Archbishop Howlader issues Eid greetings, for a ‘stronger relationship' between Christians and Muslims

by Sumon Corraya

The prelate, who chairs the Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue, released a statement to mark the end of Ramadan. In it, he says that promoting “social fraternity and world peace” is a shared task. In addition to Eid celebrations, preparations are underway for Bengali New Year on 14 April.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Archbishop Lawrence S. Howlader of Chattogram[*] issued a statement addressed to Muslims on the celebrations marking the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and prayer, which are set to take place tomorrow.

“We express our warmest greetings to our Muslim brothers and sisters for the feast of Eid al-Fitr,” the statement reads, to “help build a stronger relationship between Christians and Muslims.”

The prelate, who also chairs the Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue (EC-CUIRD), stressed the notion of “peaceful coexistence under the discipline of faith.”

Bangladesh has many creeds, colours and cultures, and its people generally live in an atmosphere of religious harmony, even if there is no shortage of sectarian violence.

“Every religion has its festivals according to its discipline of faith. Muslim brothers and sisters celebrate Eid after completing the month's fast. At this time, we Christians express unity with Muslims,” Archbishop Howlader writes.

Published in the country’s Bengali-language Catholic newspaper, the message reads that "in today's world, the effort to establish fraternity and peace is very urgent."

The pontiff himself has taken up the values of "social fraternity and peace in the world in his encyclical 'Fratelli tutti'. To establish peace and fraternity, Pope Francis said, that interreligious dialogue is an obligation.”

Archbishop Howlader noted that every religion teaches peaceful coexistence and every faith has teachings inspired by peace and harmony and that the anniversaries of each religion must be "celebrated in a peaceful state of mind.”

What is more, “I believe that Muslim brothers and sisters will obtain the blessings of the Creator through self-purification in the month of Ramadan. In this month they fast, pray, and make donations, and for this they obtain God's blessings.”

In conclusion, “Let us pray to establish peace and harmony instead of conflict and envy. From the entire Christian community, I wish you sincere love and greetings on this Eid,” the message said.

As chairman of the EC-CUIRD, the prelate plays such a delicate and essential role in terms of dialogue, harmony, and outreach between faiths.

The commission is tasked, among other things, with promoting better understanding between members of different religions, studying and understanding the spiritual values of other religions, sharing Christian values with others, and publishing literature useful for mutual understanding.

This year, the end of Ramadan and Eid celebrations fall close to Pohela Boishakh, Bengali New Year, 14 April. Just as others join Christians at Christmas, so Christians, Hindus and Buddhists join Muslims in the name of confessional harmony, for, as a popular slogan says: “Religion is for individuals, while festivals are for all.”

[*] Bangladesh's second largest city, located in the country's south-east..

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