ASIA/PAKISTAN - Christian and Muslim children "ambassadors of peace"

Wednesday, 17 February 2016 peace   dialogue   islam   education   childhood  

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - Children are the hope of society and the first messengers of peace and harmony, starting from families and schools: in this spirit the "Council for Interreligious Dialogue", based in Lahore, formed an interreligious team of children in schools calling them "Ambassadors of Peace". The team is made up of Muslim and Christian children from different schools and madrassas (Islamic schools) and is open to children who belong to other religions. The initiative was promoted and realized thanks to the efforts of Francis Nadeem, OFM Cap, who is also director of a school started by the Capuchin Franciscan friars in Lahore and one of the founders of the "Council for Interreligious Dialogue".
The Council organized a ceremony in which the young "Ambassadors of Peace" took an oath and committed themselves to being "peacemakers".
"Being an ambassador is not only a title, but a big responsibility", remarked Miss Sumera, a teacher at St. Mary High School. "Children are selected as special messengers because they are fearless, and do what they think. Children study and play together, without any kind of discrimination. Children do not nourish resentment in their hearts".
Speaking of the program's objectives, the teacher explained to Fides: "We suggested to the children: whenever you see a conflict between your brothers and sisters or between parents, try to carry out your role for reconciliation". Peace is "the desperate need of the present moment, not only in our country, but around the world devastated by terrorism", she added.
Muslim leader Mufi Syed Ashiq Hussain, a member of the Interreligious Council and director of the ''New century Koran institute" in Lahore, told the children that "none of the religions teaches to spread hatred, discrimination or war" and that "all religions teach peace, tolerance, forgiveness and acceptance". "What you learn in childhood is remembered for a lifetime", he added, noting the importance of educational work with children, inviting them to "always sow peace, for life". (PY-PA) (Agenzia Fides 17/02/2016)