Inter-religious dialogue can break the walls of hatred and intolerance
Speaking about his recent appointment to Cardinal, Joseph Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi, said “Among the first who came to congratulate me for my appointment to Cardinal was a group of 15-20 religious leaders from different communities. It is very important: we are learning coexistence and mutual appreciation with them.” He observed that Karachi, one of the world’s largest cities with a population between 19 and 21 million, had “a truly multiethnic and multireligious society.” A very high number of Hindus and Christians live there as well as Bahai, Parsi and some Sikhs.
“Interreligious dialogue is a commitment which should involve all of us. It should be an integral part of our life, in a Muslim majority country like Pakistan” said the Cardinal. He was pleased to see how many people in civil society in Karachi, of different paths of life and all faiths, also feel this need and talk about the necessity of promoting more interreligious harmony in society. However, people of all faiths are aware of and worried about the emergence of terrorism and religious intolerance in Pakistan. Coutts observed: “Recently we have seen an increase of groups of extremists who use religion to foment intolerance. In such situation, authentic dialogue is urgently needed which is something more than verbal dialogue: it is a dialogue of life, it means accepting one another, learning to understand each other, working together in harmony.”
The Cardinal stated “As a Church, we should not be closed in ourselves. We live in the modern world, and we are dealing with other religions. We look at the positive values in other traditions. In dialogue, all these elements emerge.”