By Vatican News
Cardinal Joseph Coutts, the Archbishop of the southern port city of Karachi, invited Christians and representatives of other religions to the pre-Christmas celebration at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on December 12. “We should not only gather to celebrate but we have to be united in each other’s difficult times,” Cardinal Coutts the participants.
United amid difficulties
He recalled that in 2015, the archdiocese had gathered together the city’s religious leaders after the attack by Islamic State terrorists on the Ismaili community that left 45 people dead. “We invited religious leaders and requested them to pray for the victims and their families,” he said, noting, “The event was widely covered by international and national media.”
The 75-year old cardinal said that the event became a “source of unity for us all at a time when there was a lot of terrorism and unrest in Karachi.” He pointed out that the city has produced eminent humanitarians such as Abdul Sitar Edhi, known for the Edhi Foundation and other charitable initiatives; Catholic nun Dr. Ruth Pfau, who dedicated her life to fighting Hansen’s disease or leprosy; Hakeem Muhammad Syed, a medical researcher and philanthropist, and many others who “defied violence and spread peace,” Cardinal Coutts said the message of peace and harmony must be spread at the grassroots level for real change.
Allama Ahsan Siddiqui, general secretary of Albaraka Welfare Trust International and the Interfaith Commission for Peace and Harmony, urged all present to build peace and fraternity starting with “small good steps” which, he said, “can bring about a big change in our society.” This, he said can be done only when all are “united and denounce hatred and announce love.”
“One day,” he said, “we will be able to proudly tell ourselves that we belong to a country that was founded by Muhammad Ali Jinnah.” “His dream of an inclusive Pakistan,” Siddiqui said, “will come true.”
Together for rights of minorities
Mangla Sharma, a Hindu lawmaker, thanked the Christian community for its efforts to promote interfaith harmony and dialogue among people of various religious groups. He said such initiatives for the equal rights of minorities should be organized and backed by all.
Father Saleh Diego, director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace, hailed the efforts towards interdenominational and interfaith unity. “We all, not only Christians, have to unite and stand together with Hindus and Sikhs for the cause of peace and justice,” he said. “Our Lord is the Lord of Justice and everything is possible if we are united and stand together.”
Pastor Suleman Manzoor, chairman of Rapha Mission International, invited Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Parsi and other communities to join a Christmas peace rally on Sunday, Dec. 20, which will start at the Christian Cemetery and end at Karachi Press Club. (Source: UCANEWS)