The Catholic Archdiocese of New Delhi in India held an interfaith breaking of the fast with Muslims and other religious leaders to show solidarity among religions.
Archbishop Anil Joseph Couto of Delhi said the “interfaith iftar” held on April 22 aimed to show a message of peace and love.
“Iftar,” also known as “futoor,” is the evening meal with which Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset.
The interfaith event was at attended by Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and Hindus in the area.
Archbishop Couto said the gathering was an expression of compassion and love. “This united service of prayer bodes well for brotherhood among people of different cultures and religion,” he said.
“Such a meeting is all the more important in our times when hatred is being spread and people are being divided on communal lines,” added the prelate.
He said that by building mutual understanding, coexistence, and respect for human dignity, unity can be achieved.
“Like Lent, the holy month of Ramadan spent in fasting and reparation reminds us that we have to overcome the temptation of the evil one,” said Archbishop Couto.
He noted that in India, there is an outflow of politics that is divisive, such as the controversy over the wearing of the hijab, or veil among Muslims. “This is not good for the nation. This is not what India is all about,” said the Catholic Church leader.
Prof. Mohammed Salim Engineer, who represented the Muslim community, said Ramadan is a time of worship, contemplation, and joyous gatherings with family and friends.
“During Ramadan we find ways to feel connected with God, such as reading the Koran and living a good and righteous life in accordance with its precepts,” he said.
Goswami Sushil Maharaj, a Hindu, said “oneness and brotherhood is what we require as we are all sons and daughters of one God.”
Venerable Dr. Dhammapiya, secretary general of the International Buddhist Conference, said “Christ came to serve, Buddha, Mohammed, and the prophets all came to serve people.”
“We inter-faith leaders are her to serve. We have to instill the values of brotherhood and unity among our people,” he said.
“This iftar is a great step toward achieving that amity where ‘compassion is religion, truth is faith and service is the way of life,” he added.