Iftar in the house of Jesus

A church in Nashik, Maharashtra, held a multi-faith iftar celebration to spread a strong message of brotherhood and communal harmony. Namaz was offered in the church and its resident priest prayed alongside the Muslims.

At Holy Cross Church in the heart of the city, heads of various religious institutions had gathered to reflect on political party interference in religion and some political parties becoming film promoters – an obvious reference to men of the BJP who were asked to put up posters of The Kashmir Files on the walls and urging people to watch the film.

Father Vency D’Mello said: “There were priests of all religions gathered in the church, sharing food and thoughts together. We were so engrossed in our discussions of brotherhood and harmony that we simply forgot about the passing of time. Soon it was almost dusk and when our Muslim brothers said they had to leave to offer prayers and break their fast, I just offered the church for namaz as it is also a place of God and n Any prayer can be said here. Then we all prayed together.

Islamic scholar Maulana Zahur Ahmad, who was present on the occasion, welcomed the gesture. “We are very humbled. I will pass on the message but I think such events should be held frequently and not just during Ramzan to strengthen the bonds we all share as Indians.”

Kiran Mohite of Bharatiya Hitrakshak Sabha and Ajmal Khan of the Aim Charitable Trust, two NGOs with no political affiliation, were the main instigators of the cross-party interaction. Mohite strongly believes in the diversity of India. “We are known as a place where all religions have flourished and where people have lived together for centuries,” he says, determined that this unity in diversity will not be destroyed.

On the other hand, Ajmal Khan said proudly, “After this program, I am sure that if at any time I become the target of someone, there will be at least 10 people who will support me and they will not be not just Muslims, but people of all faiths.”

There was a consensus at the meeting – TV news channels amplify the hate and paint an unreal picture of India. “The reality is different from what we see on television. The media is under the control of the ruling party which uses “saam, daam, dand and bhed” to keep them under control. In reality, people who believe in the idea of ​​India are always together and share their happy and difficult times together,” was the common perception.

As veteran journalist Niranjan Takle said, “Hate has an expiration date, love is timeless. The people will win and triumph.”

When people like Mohite, D’Mello, Khan, Bhante Aryanath (Buddhist), Chetna Chordia (Jain), Shabbir Burhani (Bohra) Sachin Joshi and Swapnil Ghiya (Hindus) and others like them present at the meeting say they cherish the freedom, equality and fraternity and will always fight for the idea of ​​India, “where unity is in diversity and not in uniformity”, there is still hope for the nation.

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