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Joint festival celebration builds peace in Pakistan

Posted on: January 12, 2016 10:06 AM
Religious leaders cut a cake to celebrate peace at an event marking three significant religious festivals
Photo Credit: Diocese of Raiwind

[ACNS] More than 200 people from Pakistan’s different faith communities were brought together by the diocese of Raiwind’s peacebuilding department to mark three significant religious festivals as part of efforts to promote understanding, respect, and to build relationships between people of different faiths.

The Muslim festival of Eid Milad Ul Nabi marks the birthday of Mohammed and was celebrated on 12 December last year. The Sikh festival of Guru Govind Singh Jayanti, marking the birth of the 10th Sikh Guru, is celebrated on 16 January.

Last week, the diocese invited religious and community leaders, professors, students, NGO and government officials, journalists and bloggers to an event to mark both these occasions and also Christmas,

Religious leaders spoke at the meeting about the impact of the joint celebration and explained both the significance and the traditions included in their respective celebrations. Peace gifts were distributed by a young Santa Claus and the guests sang “songs of peace, joy and happiness,” a spokesman for the diocese said.

The Bishop of Raiwind, the Rt Revd Samuel Azariah, said in his closing remarks that “we must open doors for people from other faiths in our celebrations. The principles of tolerance and respect must prevail and should be encouraged in our society.”

He also said that everybody had a duty to encourage interfaith harmony and goodwill through their churches, mosques, temples and other places of worship, according to people’s own religious traditions.