11/17/2009, 00.00
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Mumbai attack: Jews, Hindus, Christians and Muslims remember the victims of terrorism

by Nirmala Carvalho
The Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Indian foundation The Art of Living are behind the interfaith commemoration. Believers must “repudiate the culture of death’ and promote instead “the sanctity of life, tolerance and freedom.” Parents and teachers must fight “divisive tendencies”.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – The Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Indian foundation The Art of Living have sponsored an interfaith meeting to commemorate the victims of the Mumbai terrorist attack of 26 November 2008. Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Muslim leaders from India and various parts of the world met at 3 pm (local time) at the Trident Nariman Point Hotel, one of the four sites targeted by terrorists. From there, participants went onto Chabad House, a Jewish community centre also targeted in last year’s attack.

“Religious leaders have a special obligation to publicly condemn terrorist attacks that are inspired and sanctioned by those who call themselves servants of God,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance.

“This is a time for people of faith to openly repudiate the culture of death nurtured in the name of religion while standing beside our Indian friends to promote the sanctity of life, tolerance and freedom,” he added.

Speaking to AsiaNews, the representative of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said, “India is a prime example of religious tolerance and we religious leaders need to get in the frontline against religiously validated terrorism.”

For Cooper, it “is the responsibility of parents, teachers and religious leaders to defeat the divisive tendencies that are separating people and sowing seeds of discord and suspicion among peoples of different faith.”

Representatives of nine different confessions took part in today’s commemoration. For the rabbi, this shows that terrorists “cannot drive people apart.”

In remembering the Chabad House attack and the Jewish victims of that tragic day, Cooper said that the attackers “were not Indians, but Islamic terrorists”, and that faced with the attack Indians reacted with immediate and consistent solidarity.

What is more, one of the main goals of interfaith dialogue is to fight terror perpetrated in the name of religion. “I was privileged to meet His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, the kind and great academician; the main topic of our conversion was terrorism,” he explained.

According to Rabbi Cooper, religion must again play an important role in society. “During the cold war, religion was part of the solution to the problems of people. Religion gave people hope [. . .], but with the end of the cold war, religion unfortunately is losing” with results for all to see.

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