Chirendra Satyal, Kathmandu, Nepal
February 6, 2012
Gathering calls on now-secular country for greater peace-building efforts
Jesuit Father Bill Robins lights candle at the interfaith program
Religious leaders marked World Interfaith Harmony Week for the first time in Nepal yesterday with a gathering that called for greater efforts to forge a lasting peace and for the country to abide by secular principles.
“We pray that all can learn to give and receive forgiveness after all the violence we have been through,” said Jesuit Father Bill Robins at the start of the gathering at the national academy hall in Kathmandu.
The gathering was jointly organized to mark the special UN week, which ends tomorrow, by Religions for Peace and the United Peace Federation.
Around 300 people attended the event during which a message from the president of the UN General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, was read out.
“We have become a secular country and our behavior should reflect this so that we promote unity among various religions and do not cause conflict,” said chief guest, Kulchandra Gautam, a former deputy UN secretary general.
“We feel shy to say that we are from a country where Gautama Buddha was born as some of our political leaders are still claiming that they will bring change in Nepal through the power of guns,” he said, adding that: “Religious leaders have to play a pro-active role to bring about peace as politicians cannot bring it about themselves.”