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Mayor David Miller Meets With The Toronto Area Interfaith Council

TRANSFORMING DEVELOPMENT Exploring Approaches to Development from Religious Perspectives



A SALUTE TO CANADA My Adopted Land Of Unparalleled Multicultural And Religious Diversity

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THE GOLDEN RULE: Unity in Diversity






in New Delhi, India

by Yuel Bhatti, Executive Secretary,

United Religions Initiative (URI) Pakistan

10 December 2007

The URI Pakistan delegates, consisting of 26 members, got unique and significant opportunity and experience by attending the URI Asia Regional Assembly at New Delhi , India from 22 to 25 November 2007. The theme of the conference ”Promoting Peace: Through Reconciliation” was so impressive and healthy. It is because, the peace environment of this region is not stable. It was historic moment when the Pakistani delegates meet other members of the URI family from all over Asia .  

In the Inaugural Session on 24th November 2007 at 10am at Nehru Memorial Museum & Library Teen Murti   House, New Delhi .  The Pakistani delegates were warmly welcomed by the host in great enthusiasm and love show that “without Pakistani Delegate Assembly will not be held “ as said by the Dr. Mohinder Sing. Fr. James Channan OP, Regional Coordinator for Aisa/Pakistan has  made it  possible to participate in this assembly by obtaining  visas of Pakistani delegates  with a lot of hard work.  Dr. Mohinder Singh  also thanked all the participants from  Korea , Bangladesh , Nepal , Sri Lanka , Pakistan and India .  

In his inaugural address, the Chief Guest, His Excellency Shri M. Hamid Ansari, Vice-President of India said that the nations resolve the issue but it is great historic moment when the interfaith leaders gather to resolve the issues especially for interfaith peace and harmony for sustainable peace and development and in solving certain issues of the oppressed community in the region. Mr. Ansari  also said that in my observation  the people of  Indo-Pak  would like the brotherhood and see the better environment for peace and love. It is not a  matter of any religion but the humanity is the  only platform where we can gather and resolve the issues peacefully.  I congratulate all the organizers of the Assembly and my best wishes for all the participants to have fruitful and healthy assembly.

The special messages for this Regional Assembly from Bishop Swing, Founder and President of the URI,   was read by Fr. James Channan  In his message Bishop Swing said, "I can picture you all gathered together with stories to tell, with support to be given, and with the strengthened resolve to  be about the task of peace making in local settings. Another picture also comes to mind. It is this portrait of a growing  family of URI. Once upon a time,  the URI was just an idea. But at the Asian Assembly it is a reality and can be seen with the eye. Beautiful and large,  growing more beautiful and large yet. You all at the Asian Assembly fill me with great hope and I send affectionate best wishes for a successful meeting. I am proud to know you."

After reading the message of Bishop Swing ,  Fr James added his own message by saying  that I am grateful to the government of India for granting visas to all 26 delegates from Pakistan . He said these delegates are ‘doves of peace’ from Pakistan and  we have come with branches of olive tree in our hands. We want all nations and religions to live in peace. He also said that let us put into practice  the  Golden Rule as said by Jesus Christ  that “Do unto others, what you would like them to do unto you”. This rule is found in all religions. Let us practice it. He also congratulated all members of the Sikh community on the great occasion of the Birthday of Hazrat Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion. The message of  Fr James Channan was received with great joy, appreciation and with rounds  of claps.

Swami Agnivesh, Dr. Nirmala Deshpande,   Bhai Mohinder Singh, Rev. Jinwol Lee and  Ms.Yoland Triveno  congratulated the organizers for holding  this Assembly and said that it is great time indeed  for interfaith dialogue   and promoting peace and harmony. It  will reflect good impact of the URI purpose and its  dreams coming true for peace in  Asia  when the Interfaith leaders from several countries of  Asia are gathered for sharing  their experiences of  reconciliation towards peace  process in the region.

Tree plantation by the delegates was the consustive event when we planted the Peace plant as representing of their country will be historic plant in the future. The involvement of the children was inspiring for new generation towards promoting peace process.

After the lunch break session was started on “Presentation on vision of URI.

In her keynote address  Ms. Yoland Triveno, Chairperson, Global Council URI   said

the prayers coming true and vision and purpose of URI coming true out of dream and practically and person to person we are meeting in great joy and blessings. What a wonderful collaboration of interfaith leaders who traveled long distances  gathered for their valuable sharing and interaction. I congratulate all the parcipants for remarkable contribution towards interfaith dialogue for peace besides facing so many challenges in their counties.  I am much impressed by this gathering and especially the  Pakistani delegate who faced difficulties in obtaining  visas but I salute   to  Fr.James Channan OP, and his team for their patience, courage and dedication. The involvement of students of Salwan public School in the Assembly is amazing and healthy sign for coming generation and vision of URI for Youth is coming true.

Angles of Peace: A ceremony was held for fixing the URI mono to the Salwan Public School student who are committed  themselves for peace and interfaith harmony.

Presentation of Country report:  The representatives of each country presented their reports and activities for spreading the peace was encouraging and milestone presentation. From  Pakistan Fr. James Channan OP, the regional coordinator for Asia/Pakistan presented  a brief report of the country while Sr. Sabina Riffat, Yuel Bhatti, Allama Abu Feth Chisti, Saeed – ur- Rehman and Rev George Feth Din also presented   reports of activities they did to promote peace and harmony. All participants appreciated and applauded these impressive reports..

In the evening  session Rev.Jinwol Lee, Dr.Ibraham Karickam Mr.Sushil Dutt Dr. J.S. Neki gave their remarkable experience and sharing for the process of Peace. They all urged  that we should depart with the new vision and expectations of the assembly when we all will meet next year for the Global Council in India .

Mr. Hira Paul Gangnegi, extend the warm vote of thanks to all the delegates and participants  

In the evening cultural program was presented by the Korean delegates. It was  the musical show  of  singing peace and cultural songs  while the Pakistani delegates also present a cultural show with celebration of honoring the Asian URI Council Members by doing  “Dastar bandi” :  a cultural Turban which is awarded  for recognition and respect. . Mr. Yuel Bhatti put  the turbans on the head of  Dr. Mohindar Sing, Mr. Biswadeb Chakarwarti  to  Fr.James Channan OP and Mr. Saleemi  to Rev. Jinwol Lee which Fr.James Channan honored the turban to Mr. Hira Paul and Dr. Abraham  Karickam. It was colorful ceremony of the Cultural Progame.

On 25th November 2007 all delegates visited the historical places  of New Delhi , Fort, Qutab Minar, Ghandi  Samadi, Jain Mandar, mosque and Lotus Temple .  It was good time when all the delegates mixed and interacted  in person. It was great time to visit the holy and cultural place.  On 26th the Pakistan Delegates visited  Agra   to see  Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the world.

In conclusion I can say that URI Regional Assembly provided a wonderful opportunity to meet the Asian leaders and members of the URI family from all over Asia . We shared our activities and renewed our  goals  and vision of  promoting peace and interfaith harmony . We are confident that in  future the flag of the URI will shine in  each city of  the Asian countries. Long live URI!

Yuel Bhatti

Executive Secretary

URI Pakistan

10 December 2007

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