“Muslim leaders and scholars play an important and valuable role in promoting peace and harmony in Pakistan. We assure you of our support in this work. We pray for peace, prosperity, and well-being in our country”: these are words expressed by Archbishop Francis Sebastian Shaw, at the head of the Archdiocese of Lahore and President of the Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue (NCIDE) in the Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, during his visit to the Jamiah Masjid Ahsan-al-Raheem mosque in Lahore, reported Fides News Agency on June 11, 2019.
Bringing the greetings and solidarity of Christians for the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the Archbishop expressed the hope “of mutual acceptance, and respect and recognition among leaders and communities of different faiths”, giving those present the message released by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue on the occasion of the Muslim feast of Eid-ul-Fitr, for the end of Ramadan.
Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Cap, Executive Secretary of the Bishops’ Commission, appreciating the presence of a composite meeting of Muslim and Christian leaders, said that “this assembly is a blessing from God: such meetings bring us closer to each other and today there is a desperate need to nurture Islamic-Christian dialogue and coexistence in Pakistan, for the good of all”.
The Maulana, Muhammad Asim Makhdoom expressed gratitude for the Archbishop’s visit and assured his collaboration to build brotherhood and harmony in Pakistan, and recalled, as a source of inspiration, the historic meeting of St. Francis and the Sultan, which took place 800 years ago in Egypt. The Muslim leader said that “the presence of the Archbishop in the mosque generates a message of peace and harmony, of fraternity and tolerance and mutual acceptance”.
The visit, held in a climate of friendship and good relations, ended with the common recitation of the prayer for peace attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, “Lord make me an instrument of your peace”, with the commitment of being Christians and Muslims side by side in promoting peaceful coexistence in Pakistani society.