Religions meet to talk about founders

From left, Cecil Plaatjies spoke about Buddhism, Pandya Kirtibhai spoke about Hinduism, Nic Paton about Taoism and Bernadette Daries spoke about Christianity.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at held a Peace Symposium with a bit of a difference, known as Religious Founders Day, on Sunday August 19.

Representatives from the Tao, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist faiths were invited to speak on the teachings of their religious founders.

The set theme was teachings of love, peace and justice, as taught by the religious founders.

Religious Founders Day as an interfaith gathering was established in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at in 1928 by its second caliph, Hazrat Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad. A caliph is a religious leader in Islam. President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, Rayaan Allom, said this day had been commemorated since 1928, to quell hatred and foster love between religions.

Mr Allom explained that during that time, hatred was being incited between the Hindu and Muslim communities in India.

Instead of retaliating, the Muslim community decided to foster love by initiating the Religious Founders Day.

Welcoming the guests, national president Mansoor Ahmad Zahid, said the world was already divided in many ways, and religion should not be a cause for further division.

“This gathering is important. We should recognise each other and respect the holy founders of religion. The Qur’an does not allow the disrespect of any religion. Some people use religion to divide people but that should not be so. We need to reduce the gaps.

“For peace in our world and community, we must focus on our common principles. This is why we invited you to share your wisdom with us,” Mr Zahid said.

Nic Paton spoke about Taoism, Pandya Kirtibhai spoke about Hinduism, Rabbi Sam Thurgood shared about Judaism, Cecil Plaatjies spoke about Buddhism, Bernadette Daries spoke about Christianity and Abubakar Oppong shared about Islam.

Zaid Ebrahim said: “It is hoped that these kinds of symposiums will help to improve inter-communal relations between religions, and it is hoped and believed that it will remove misconceptions and misunderstandings which exist in and amongst many religions today.”