Indian Multifaith Prayer Service - a Call to Non-Violence
20 February 2007
When Father Anthony, a priest at St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Panchgani, India, called for multi-religion prayers on January 30, 2007, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Christians responded, gathering together for prayers. Ann Njeri, from Kenya, was there.
How can we promote peace in today’s world? So often we blame religion as the cause for conflict. When Father Anthony, a priest at St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Panchgani, India, called for multi-religion prayers on January 30, 2007, it was great to see people from different faiths - Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Christians gather together for prayers.
'We should have open minds about other nations and people, looking at their best in order to promote friendship and peace. We need to let go off all our feelings of hatred and resentment,' he said.
Among the congregation were 15 from the nearby IofC community at Asia Plateau representing different religions and faiths. 'I feel that people from all faiths, together spreading the message of peace and love is the need of the hour,' said Imtiaz, a young Muslim lawyer from Kashmir. 'I respect the idea of multi-religion prayers for this will help people to understand and respect each other’s faith,' he said.
Different scriptures from different religions were read and they all had a common message – non-violence.
'I am a Buddhist, and I am really inspired by the act of praying together,' said Boroith, an intern from Cambodia. 'No religion is willing to listen to the other and the end result is hatred, wars and mass deaths of innocent people. The sad thing is that the hatred is being passed to the younger generation, and I feel this is the time to stop it,' he said.
As a Christian from Kenya, I felt that the differences in our religions and faiths should be a source of enrichment, not a source of violence. We should live beyond our religion and faiths, respect and understand the differences and live on the basis of dialogue. We all can change where needed and leave together in peace and harmony.
I love the words from How do you spell God by Mark Gellman and Thomas Hartman:
'We have no problem with people who think their religion is more right than any other religion, we do have a problem with people who think they have the right religion and then go out and hurt other people because of it. The way to show that your religion is right is to live it.'
At the end of the meeting we exchanged flowers as a sign of love and peace. With our right hands raised, as sign of commitment, we made a vow for non-violence.