report by Fr James Channan, OP
Peace Center Lahore and URI Pakistan celebrated the 17th annual Symphony of Peace Prayers at Peace Center Lahore on May 19, 2021. Interfaith leaders from Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism joined in the interfaith prayers for peace in the world, especially for peace in Palestine and the end of war between Israel and Palestine.
The participants included Allama Zubair Abid, Professor Mehmood Ghaznavi, Fr James Channan OP, Zubair Ahmed Farooq, Dr Abdul Ghaffar Randhawa, Allama Abdul Mustafa Chishti, Dr Badr Munir, Dr Saleem Massy, Dr Munawar Chand, Sohail Ahmed Raza, Fr Taufiq Younas OP, Mrs. Sunita Munawar, Madam Neelam Nisari, Asher Nazir, Faisal Ilyas, Iqbal Sani, Yousaf Khokhar, Victor Khan, Javed Bhatti, Zulfiqar, Muhammad Rizwan, and others.
After the interfaith rally for peace in Palestine, interfaith peace prayers were offered from the Muslim, Christian, and Hindu scriptures. The flags of all the countries were placed in the middle, and we prayed, “May peace prevail on Earth! May peace prevail in Pakistan, May peace prevail in Japan, and May peace prevail in Palestine.”
Mr. Asher Nazir, Executive Secretary of URI Pakistan, Mr. Faisal Ilyas, Executive Secretary of Peace Center Lahore, and Fr. Taufiq Younas OP, Assistant Director of the Peace Center, were the emcees of the program. Fr James Channan OP, Director of Peace Center Lahore and Regional Coordinator of URI Pakistan, warmly welcomed all the guests and shared the importance of and information about the Symphony of Peace Prayers.
Fr Channan presented the message sent by Masami Saionji to URI Pakistan. Her recorded message was played in Japanese, and was also read in the English and Urdu languages. The participants highly appreciated her message, and thanked her for giving her precious time to record this message and send it to participants in the SOPP in Pakistan.
Later, all interfaith leaders shared their feelings and good wishes for peace in the entire world, and especially between Israel and Palestine. They also expressed their gratitude for this very meaningful program to offer prayers for world peace. All the distinguished guests were very prominent interfaith leaders, and play a very positive role for interfaith harmony.
Dr. Munawar Chand, a Hindu leader, said, “Humanity is the biggest religion, and in Palestine women, children and men are being killed. It’s painful and should stop immediately.” Dr. Saleem Massy said, “We want peace in the disputed areas, and we pray to God Almighty for world peace. Amen!”
Dr. Sohail Ahmad Raza thanked Fr Channan for arranging the Symphony of Peace Prayers and expressed his sorrow for people dying in Palestine. We are together to raise peace in that region, he said.
Adv. Zubair Ahmad Farooq thanked the organizers for their invitation and shared his good wishes for Palestine. Having all the flags of the world together shows that we want peace around the globe, he said.
Maulana Dr. Badar Munir requested everyone to please pray for the innocent people dying on a daily basis. Prof. Mahmood Ghaznavi said, “I salute all peace promoters, especially Fr James Channan OP, who always invites interfaith leaders to join hands for the promotion of peace and interfaith harmony.”
Pir Maulana Zubair Abid said, “We know Israel and Palestine are sacred places for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. I strongly condemn the war and killing of innocent people on both sides. I feel happy and satisfied by the great role of His Holiness Pope Francis and our dear friend, ambassador of peace Fr James Channan OP, that they urged us to bring peace to this area of conflict. I believe dialogue is better than war. We are hoping for peace and happiness in the world. Thank you!”
Fr James Channan OP thanked all the honorable guests for their valuable presence, prayers, and concerns for the people of Palestine. He said, “Our support is with them and we are praying for peace and harmony. I also request to OIC and UNO to play their neutral role in promoting a ceasefire on both sides, to build peace between the two countries. I have a strong belief that God always listens to our prayers and answers them. I’m confident that our efforts for peace will bring good news. All interfaith groups, especially the URI, are trying their best for peace and the resolution of wars and conflicts. Our main objective of today’s gathering is to build bridges of love and peace, and to destroy the walls of hatred and violence in the world. May God Almighty answer our prayers and peace prevail in the world. Amen! Thank you very much and God bless you!”