A Pakistani Catholic priest and an Islamic cleric have been honored for their efforts for upholding interfaith harmony in the country. Father James Channan and Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad had been awarded by the African branch of United Religions Initiative. These two were termed as role models to the entire continent of Africa for their active pursuit of interreligious harmony.
”It is a recognition of the work to promote interreligious dialogue in Pakistan and around the world and to promote a culture of peace, justice, reconciliation and dialogue,” said Father James Channan. The Catholic priest also serves as URI’s Regional Coordinator for Pakistan besides holding the office of the Executive Director of Peace Center, Lahore.
Father Channan further said that “recognitions like this feed the courage and daily work in order to break the walls of hatred between Christians and Muslims, and to build bridges of trust and respect.” It has been a joint pursuit of over 20 years; while the two leaders had visited several other countries in order to promote Christian-Islamic dialogue.
“I thank God for the gift of my vocation to priesthood and to the Dominican Order because it gives me the opportunity to work for this important apostolate in Pakistan and around the world. I thank the Dominican Order because it supports every step in this field,” Father Channan said.
Father James Channan and Abdul Khabir Azad, the Imam of the historic Badshahi mosque in Lahore, have been given the “Award for Inter religious Harmony” 2017 by the African branch of United Religions Initiative (URI). Pakistan is still reeling as the bane of terrorism and extremism has struck the country once again. Father James has reaffirmed his commitment to “promote, with all men and women of good will, peace, justice, harmony to make Pakistan a better country in which all citizens, of any religion, can live peacefully.”