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Bangladesh praised as interfaith leader

Country shows it is possible for different faiths to live in peace, Vatican cardinal says

Cardinal Tauran visits Bangladesh’s largest Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in Dhaka along with Muslim leaders on Tuesday (Photo courtesy of Chandan Robert Rebeiro) Cardinal Tauran visits Bangladesh’s largest Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in Dhaka along with Muslim leaders on Tuesday (Photo courtesy of Chandan Robert Rebeiro)
  • Rock Ronald Rozario, Dhaka
  • Bangladesh
  • April 28, 2011
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Bangladesh is a model of interreligious harmony,vVisiting Pontifical Commission for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) president Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran said during an official tour of the country.

“I’ve said a number of times during my stay here that Bangladesh is considered as an example, a model for interreligious dialogue and harmony. It can be placed at the services of world today,” said Cardinal Tauran, 68 who today completes a three-day tour of Bangladesh - his first to the country.

Among other engagements, the French cardinal, a former Vatican foreign minister, addressed a crowd at a Conference on Interreligious Dialogue and Harmony in Dhaka yesterday.

“Bangladesh has shown how it is possible for people in a multi-religious society live in peace and harmony. I think it was possible because from the beginning Bangladeshi society was all inclusive and tolerant to other faiths,” asserted the prelate in his keynote speech.

More than 500 religious leaders, dignitaries and representatives from various religions and Christian denominations including Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Joseph Marino, Bangladesh state minister for religious affairs Shajahan Mian, Catholic state minister for cultural affairs Promod Mankin and all the Catholic bishop of the country attended the half day program.

The event organized by Catholic bishops’ Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue (EC-CUIRD) included readings from Holy Scriptures Qur’an, Gita, Tripitaka and Bible, speeches from the guests and religious representatives, devotional songs and unveiling of a special souvenir titled ‘Harmony bring peace’.

Cardinal Tauran said discussions between faiths was more important than ever today when there is "a tendency to see religion as a problem."

"When religious leaders speak together the society as a whole benefits."

Apostolic Nuncio Joseph Marino said that Bangladesh has worked in line with Holy Father Benedict XVI’s message in London in Sept. 2010, “Dialogue is a truce side by side, face to face.”

David Das, a Protestant pastor and secretary of ecumenical national Council of Churches in Bangladesh said that the "time has come to utilize the fruits of harmony with better and broader cooperation.”

Bangladesh state minister for religious affairs Shajahan Mian said the visit of Cardinal Tauran would reinvigorate inter-faith dialogue and harmony. “This conference will build a strong and sustainable network between all faiths in Bangladesh,” he told the gathering.

EC-CUIRD chairman Bishop Bejoy D’Cruze of Khulna said that it’s high time to ‘master evil by good’. “Through dialogue we can witness our faith and values. We know a little about God and by knowing about God from other faiths we can rediscover our God better.”

Cardinal Tauran this morning  will attend a meeting with all Catholic bishops, episcopal commission members and religious superiors. He will offer a grand con-celebrated mass this evening followed by a reception.

Related reports
Visiting Vatican official meets Pakistan leaders
Vatican cardinal stresses ecumenical, interreligious dialogue

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