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Seeking a common goal: the quest for peace

Sept. 25, 2013

In order to condemn the recent twin blasts at the Church in Peshawar and express solidarity with the minority communities in India, Mrs. Janet D’souza, Vice Chairperson, Minority Commission along with Mr. Suhail Lokhandwala, the Ex Chairperson of the Minority Commission together with the Muslim leaders of various Mosques and Madrasas met with Catholic Church leaders, Rev. Bishop Agnelo Gracias and Rev. Bishop Savio Fernandes.

At the outset, Mr. Suhail denounced the ghastly act calling the perpetrators cowards and terrorists who in no way can be called members of the Muslim Community. He condemned the act as a blot on Islam and Humanity. He further stated that Terrorism has no religion. As a follower of Prophet Mohammed and the devotee of Allah, he mentioned that True Islam does not advocate violence of any kind in any way. He reassured Mrs. Janet and the Catholic community by expressing solidarity with the Christian community. The other Muslim leaders were of a similar opinion and they emphasized the fact that we (Sikhs, Muslims, Parsis, Jains, Christians) are all minorities in India and we need to come together and work towards a common goal for the betterment of humanity.

Bishop Dominic Savio Fernandes stressed the fact that the current crisis needs to be fought with the weapons of Love and Prayer. Love, he said, would bring about a transformation whereas Prayer would become a catalyst in bringing about attitudinal change. Bishop Savio also mentioned Pope Francis and his condemnation of the recent violence in Syria and identified the Catholic community as followers of the same path that the Pope has embarked upon viz. that all Catholics eschew violence of any kind. Bishop Agnelo Gracias reiterated Bishop Savio’s thoughts about love and Prayer and at the same time, he felt that the need of the hour was collaboration with all people of good will.

The Muslim Leaders expressed their belief in peaceful co-existence, while confirming their stand i.e. intolerance of inhumanity. They, too, sensed the  need for  collective and universal action in order to create a better world to live in.

On conclusion of the meeting, Mrs. Janet D’Souza thanked all those present for sparing their valuable time. Bishop Agnelo Gracias on behalf of the Archbishop of Bombay, Oswald Cardinal Gracias, expressed his gratitude to the delegation for their concern, reassurance and support and re-emphasized the necessity of solidarity among the different communities. 

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