TAMIL NADU

Promoting a dialogue among religions

Joseph P. John (middle) being felicitated by U. Mohammed (right), former Dean, Government Stanley and Medical College at an inter-faith meeting in Chennai on Monday. Mohammed Abdul Ali (left), Prince of Arcot looks on. — Photo: S.R. Raghunatha n

Joseph P. John (middle) being felicitated by U. Mohammed (right), former Dean, Government Stanley and Medical College at an inter-faith meeting in Chennai on Monday. Mohammed Abdul Ali (left), Prince of Arcot looks on. — Photo: S.R. Raghunatha n  

CHENNAI, NOV. 29. R epresentatives of differing faiths sought to evolve a better understanding of the values of each other's religions through increased cross-religious interaction and tolerance at an interfaith meeting held here on Monday.

Solidarity, they said, comes from communal harmony and all efforts today should lead to uniting all religions for the greater benefit of the country as a whole. The representatives assembled to celebrate Deepavali, Id and Guru Nanak Jayanthi.

Mohammed Abdul Ali, Prince of Arcot, said it was unfortunate that terrorism, extremism and fanaticism had been linked with Islam all over the world following a few incidents. He appealed to the people to choose, pick and elect leaders who were selfless and dedicated to the work for the community.

Religious leaders should refrain from entering the arena of politics and should remain within the precincts of religious preaching and values.

The Constitution, he said, offered equal rights to the minorities. Organisations such as the Interfaith Movement for Human Solidarity should be encouraged to work towards solidarity, secularism and harmony.

N.S. Shankar, district governor, Lions Club International, said the community had not worked towards creating a sense of belonging among the youth towards their brethren. Instead, the youth had been inculcated with a competitive spirit to face the growing challenges in every field. If communal hatred prevailed despite the presence of hundreds of universities, it only pointed to the failure of the institutions to inspire the students. Surjit Singh Sawhney, public relations secretary, Punjab Association, traced the preaching of Guru Nanak stating that they were secular and pluralist in nature.

U. Mohammed, former Dean, Stanley Medical College, said that such celebrations provided opportunity for the members to know the fundamental teachings of each other's religions.

V.B. Thangamani, social worker, Samitha Kauser Ajaz from St. Andrew's International Medical Academy, Pune, spoke.

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