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Church aims for peace with Ramayana reading

ucanews.com reporter, Kochi

ucanews.com reporter, Kochi

Updated: August 06, 2010 04:39 AM GMT
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Participants at the Ramayana recital lighted candles and pledged to work for communal peace
Participants at the Ramayana recital lighted candles and pledged to work for communal peace
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A Catholic cultural center in India’s Kochi has organized an open recital of the Ramayana, a sacred Hindu text, as part of its drive for interreligious harmony. Christian priests, Hindu sages and Muslim leaders gathered for the reading at the Chavara Cultural Center, which is managed by the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, on Aug. 4. Hindu ascetic Swami Purantharanantha led the recital alongside Carmelite Father Albert Nambiaparambil and retired Justice Shamsudeen, who represented Muslims. Each took turns to read from the book. The participants then lighted candles and pledged to work for peace. “We did it to show the world that we can join in the celebration of faith,” said Shamsudeen. Hindus in Kerala commonly read the Ramayana as a spiritual activity during the 31-day period of Karkidakam, the current month in the local calendar. “We thought it would be helpful to do this recital as it brings home the message that all religions preach goodness,” said Father Roby Kannanchira, the center’s director. “The event was especially meaningful considering the communal tension in the state.” The priest added that an uneasy peace was prevailing in parts of Kerala after Muslim radicals chopped off the hand of a Catholic professor for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Prophet Muhammad. “We need more dialogue between communities,” said Father Nambiaparambil. “Each family should work for world peace by teaching our children to love and respect other communities living around us,” said the 80-year-old priest who has been working for interreligious peace for the past five decades. Related reports South Indian archbishop convenes peace summit Kerala religious leaders appeal for harmony Five killed as Catholics and Muslims clash in Kerala IB10731.1613

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