A meeting of Christians and Muslims in central India has stressed the need for the two minority communities to work together to create a just society. “The more we interact and exchange ideas the more we stand to gain as a society and as a nation,” Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal, who heads the Catholic Church in Madhya Pradesh, told the biennial convention of the Islamic Studies Association (ISA). Around 300 Christian and Muslim delegates attended a convention organized by the association in Bhopal, capital of Madhya Pradesh state. “This kind of initiatives would help us know each other better and lead to greater understanding and co-operation,” Archbishop Cornelio said. ISA secretary Father Pushpa Anbu wants more people to attend such programs to dispel misunderstanding between Christians and Muslims. “We stand divided merely because we are ignorant of each other,” the Divine Word priest said after the convention. Father Anbu objected to branding some people as terrorists just because they follow a particular religion. “No religion engages its members for terror,” asserted the priest, who is a specialist on Islam. Father Anand Muttungal, general secretary of the Madhya Pradesh bishops’ Commission for Ecumenism and Dialogue, said the convention has boosted relations between Christians and Muslims in the state. Sajid Ali, a Muslim lawyer who attended the program, sought Christians’ help to educate members of his community and bring them to the mainstream. He blamed ignorance for the backwardness in his community. Anwar Saffi, a Muslim scholar, told the convention that his religion had taught him to treat everyone equally and live for others. He also called for closer ties with other religions to foster peace and harmony. IC13449.1643
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