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Indian parish hosts interfaith iftar for peace and fraternity

The event was organized by the interfaith group of St. Peter’s Parish in Mumbai
Indian parish hosts interfaith iftar for peace and fraternity
Indian Muslims prepare to break their iftar fast on the eve of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim holy festival of Ramadan, in Kolkata on May 2. (Photo: AFP)
Published: May 03, 2022 08:05 AM GMT
Updated: May 03, 2022 03:25 PM GMT

The Indian city of Mumbai witnessed Fratelli tutti (all brothers) in practice when around 200 people of different faiths gathered on the grounds of St. Stanislaus School in the Bandra suburb for an interfaith iftar, the meal eaten by Muslims after sunset during Ramadan. 

The iftar was organized by the interfaith group of St. Peter’s Parish, which includes members of other faiths, in collaboration with the Collective for Multifaith Dialogue consisting of a group of activists in Mumbai with the wholehearted support of Jesuit Father Frazer Mascarenhas.

In his opening remarks, Father Frazer referred to the document “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,” signed jointly by Pope Francis and the grand imam of Al-Azhar in Abu Dhabi in 2019, and pointed out the importance of coming together for the promotion of peace and harmony. 

Sharing in an interfaith iftar meal is one such action to counter these negative forces, he said.

Father Frazer hoped St. Peter’s Parish will become more inclusive to counter the negative forces that seek to divide humanity on the basis of caste and religion.

Brinelle D’Souza, an academician and activist, said: “This iftar is an act of solidarity with our Muslim sisters and brothers who are at the receiving end of deliberate, planned targeting for simply being Muslim.”

She emphasized the care of all, especially the environment, and further pointed out how all humans are spiritual beings created in the image of God to maintain the harmony of God on earth

She sought to assure all Muslim sisters and brothers in India that “we stand with you, we resist with you, we dream with you, and will collaborate with you to ensure that the country remains faithful to the values enshrined in the constitution.”

Noorjehan Safia Niaz, the founder of Bharatiya Mahila Andolan, spoke of the significance of Ramadan and the importance of fasting for physical, mental and spiritual health.

She emphasized the care of all, especially the environment, and further pointed out how all humans are spiritual beings created in the image of God to maintain the harmony of God on earth.

A group of young men from the Centre for Promoting Democracy then sang songs of hope harmony and peace.

A young woman then read a litany of prayers for peace, fraternity and harmony to which everyone answered Amen or Amin.

The preamble of the constitution was then recited in Hindi, Urdu and English, following which the church bells rang to usher in the breaking of the fast. After the meal was done, all were invited to join for the evening namaz.

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