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Muslims arrange Iftar Party for Christian delegation

Lahore: April 7, 2014. (Pervez Yousaf) “It is a joyful and historical evening when representatives of two revealed religions; Muslims and Christians are gathered for a good purpose to share each one’s faith and understanding on the topic of fast in their respective religions.” Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw OFM was talking to some 40 Muslims and Christians gathered at Bilal Markis Jallo, Lahore under the invitation of Pir Shafat Rasool , chairman of Council for Interfaith Dialogue(CIFD).

Archbishop said that Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew that where two or three are gathered in my name I am present in their midst. So we believe that God is very much present among us since we are gathered in his name to make one another about the concept of Fast in the Season of Lent.

Member of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue Archbishop Sebastian went on that the Lenten season invited us to look at others in a positive manner, regularly pray and have good attitude towards other human beings. He gave an example of a tree with different leafs and said that the old leaf of hatred and jealousy has to be thrown and replaced by love, appreciation and encouragement. The leaf of anger has to give way to the leaf of patience. When the old leaves are gone then we will have a new spring season in our life which will bring joy and happiness to all through our positive way of thinking.

He ended by appreciating the initiative taken by Pir Shafat Rasoonl in welcome the Christian delegation which came with him and expected that by such gathering we shall come close to each and appreciate the faith and teachings of each religion.

Among Christian dignitaries and religious leaders Fr. Francis Nadeem (coordinator of Council for Interfaith Dialogue), Prof. Fr. Samson Dilawar, Rev. I.B. Rocky, Fr. Inayat Bernard, Fr. Morris Jalal, Rev. Emmanuel Khokhar, Fr. Shahzad Khokhar, Rev. Marcus Fida and Samuel Piyara were prominent in this Iftar gathering. From Muslim community Prof. Refref, Dr. Syed Ehsan Masood, Prof. Ehsan Ullah Masood, Pir Ghulam Rasool Awaisi, Pir Mehfooz Mashadi (MPA Punjab), Sardar Muhammad Khan Leghari, Allama Javaid Akbar Saqi, Mufti Syed Ashiq Hussain, Sohail Qadri, Sohail Ahmed Raza and Pir S.A. Jafri were the prominent figures of this special gathering.

Expressing his views with the participants Fr. Francis Nadeem said that the fasting season teaches us to be tolerant and humble. Islam as well as Christianity diverts our focus to promote alms giving, forgiveness and sharing during these specific days. We should focus and act according to these common values of both the religions not only during these days but throughout the year. Following these instructions peace will grow in our families, society and country.

Fr. Prof. Samson Dilawar from Christian community and Prof. Refref from Muslim community gave thoughtful talks on the subject of Fasting in Islam and Christianity.

Thanking the participants Pir Shafat Rasool said that Fasting season is an opportunity to receive blessings and gifts of life from Almighty Allah. Therefore, it is our duty to work for the promotion of peace and harmony in our country.

Special prayers were recited by all for the progress and prosperity of the country and success of the ongoing peace dialogue.

At the end Iftar was served to Christian guests.