Karachi (Agenzia Fides) - "We are messengers of love, unity, peace and harmony and our interreligious gathering for Christmas brought together citizens of Karachi, of all faiths, in order to set a good example of interreligious harmony and spread a message of coexistence. Since we are disciples of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, it is our main responsibility to work to live and promote peace in our environment". This is what Fr. Saleh Diego, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Karachi said at the end of the demonstration which saw the gathering of more than a thousand people including Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Bahai, in a meeting that lasted the whole day on Sunday 20 December, at the initiative of the Protestant Christian movement "Rapha Mission International".
Fr. Saleh Diego, who supported and took part in this event as a representative of the Catholic Church, along with many other Catholics, said: "This event symbolizes that we are united. We must always work to build and strengthen this unity and brotherhood between our Christian communities of different confessions and with other faiths living in Pakistan".
Participants sang the national anthem of Pakistan, chanting slogans such as "Long live Pakistan", "We want peace", "We want unity". The procession included groups who performed the typical Christmas carols and traveled the city on foot, in wagons pulled by camels, motorcycles, cars, buses and trucks, from the Christian cemetery to the Karachi Press Club.
Pastor Suleman Manzoor, president and founder of "Rapha Mission International", said: "We praise and give thanks to God for this, for the unity between Christians and believers of other faiths. Cardinal Joseph Coutts, Fr. Saleh Diego, all the Pastors of various communities and the administration and security officials of the city of Karachi fully supported the idea of the interreligious gathering for Christmas, to give the Pakistani nation a message of unity and peace. We Christians love our country and pray for the prosperity of our homeland, Pakistan".
Allama Mohammad Ehsan Siddiqui, Muslim leader and chairman of the Interreligious Commission for Faith and Harmony, said: "Today we spread the joy of Christmas and sent a message of brotherhood from Pakistan to the world: we are a people who love peace and we live our faith freely in Pakistan".
Jaipal Chabbria, a Hindu member of the National Commission for Minorities, in an interview with Fides said: "This event helps to understand that all human beings are children of the Creator. We must respect each other's faith to live in peace, putting an end to hatred, discrimination and controversies due to religious identity".
Even Syed Zafar Abbas, Secretary General of the NGO "Jafaria Disaster Cell", sharing his thoughts, said: "We people of different faiths are first and foremost human beings. Let's always behave towards our neighbor without any discrimination of caste and creed", recalling the distribution of food to the needy during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Daisy Amjad Farooq, a Christian woman and nurse who distributed hundreds of protective masks to participants and sweets to small children, notes: "In this time of pandemic, let's respect the protection protocols, but live the spirit of Christmas of proximity and friendship towards every man, especially towards the poor and the weak". (AG-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 21/12/2020)