06/04/2018, 09.35
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Ramadan in Lahore: Christians and Sikhs offer iftar to Muslim faithful (Video)

by Kamran Chaudhry

The meal that breaks the fast was hosted by the Jesuit retreat and education center "Loyola Hall". More than 90 students, mainly Muslims, had dinner together. Christian and Sikh volunteers served the meal. "To break the taboos on the untouchability [of the Christians]".

Lahore (AsiaNews) - On the occasion of Ramadan, a holy month for Islam, Sikh students and Christians from Lahore offered the iftar to the faithful Muslims. Iftar, the evening meal that breaks the fast was hosted by the "Loyola Hall", the Jesuit retreat and education center. More than 90 university students, most of them Muslim, prayed and shared the meal with the priests of the Society of Jesus. The event was organized by the Youth Development Foundation (YDF), which also projected short documentaries on examples of coexistence and on the various places of worship present throughout the country.

The Annual Interfaith Iftar Dinner - this is the name of the event - took place on 2 June. Sikh volunteers and Christian members of the foundation wanted to contribute to the interreligious evening by serving the meal to the faithful Muslims.

In his address, Shahid Rehmat, the Catholic Executive Director YDF welcomed all at the seventh Annual Interfaith Iftar Dinner. “Special arrangements have been made for wazu (ablution) and namaz (prayer) in this Catholic territory. The venue was especially chosen to dispel the myths around the concept of untouchability. Many non-Muslim still hesitate to drink a glass of water from a public place, or even eat in a restaurant if the people there know about their different faith”, he said

Among the volunteers, there is the Sikh activist Gurjeet Singh. The 23-year-old studied at university and presided over the Sikh Foundation, which in this month of Ramadan has already offered two iftar to fellow Muslims. While serving ladles of Biryani, a typical Asian dish made of spicy rice and chicken, he told AsiaNews: " Many people have died of fasting amid intense heat wave and power cuts. We brought five doctors from Lahore in a medical camp at Bara Ghar village of Punjab province last month. More than 400 patients were treated and provided free medicine".

At the Jesuit center, Dawood Ali, 20, brought five Muslim friends from his neighborhood. "They were excited at the thought - he reports - of eating together with Christians and Sikhs. It was encouraging to learn that Sikhs have a similar concept to Zakata, the compulsory Islamic tax that requires helping the poor. " "We've taken a lot of selfies together," he concludes.


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