By Dolcy K.
With members of different communities becoming more intensely interlinked and interdependent across the world, an increased need is felt for occasions for them to interact and learn about and from each other. Such occasions are an important means to overcome mutual misconceptions, which are a major block to harmonious inter-community relations.
Commensality or eating together has long been recognised as a means for people to bond together. While sharing a meal, strangers can become friends in just a few minutes! In this regard, interfaith iftars during the month of Ramzan have become an increasingly common phenomenon in many countries. Such meals are hosted by Muslims and by others, sometimes in a place of worship (Muslim as well as other), and are attended by people from diverse faith backgrounds. These get-togethers are being recognised as a valuable means for promoting inter-community harmony and learning.
News about interfaith iftars were reported in the media from different parts of India this Ramzan. One such iftar was held in Bangalore, jointly organised by the Bangalore-based Inter-Religious Harmony Movement (IRHM) and Mr. Ahsan Jafri and some of his friends, who are associated with a Sufi tradition that is linked to the Khanqah-e Niazia, which is based in Uttar Pradesh. Held in a hall of the Catholic-run St. Joseph’s College of Arts and Commerce, the iftar brought together people from different religious backgrounds. Among those who addressed the audience were spiritual speaker Mr. Janakiram and Mr. Dinesh Rao of the Bahai community, who spoke, among other things, about fasting. The iftar and Maghrib prayers were followed by a programme of Sufi music and then dinner.
The Inter-Religious Harmony Movement (IRHM), one of the co-organisers of the programme, was launched several years ago by a Jesuit (Catholic priest) and well-known advocate of interfaith dialogue, the late Fr. Ronnie Prabhu. It is one of the few active interfaith dialogue groups in Bangalore. It organises talks on different spiritual / religious themes by speakers from different faith backgrounds as well as occasional workshops and retreats. The group meets regularly, generally on the second and last Sunday of every month at Ashirvad, a Jesuit-run centre off St. Mark’s Road.
If you’d like to be part of the IRHM, please contact the group’s Convenor, Ms. Margaret Rebello, on 9632639218
For more details
about the IRHM, see https://islamicvoice.com/bangalores-inter-religious-harmony-movement/
Interfaith Bonding at a Bangalore Iftar
By Dolcy K.