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Multi-faith prayer meet to mark 26/11 anniversary

Thursday, November 19, 2009 11:12:43 AM, IANS

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Veergaon ka Veer

Mumbai: A multi-faith event involving the Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and other religious communities will be held here next Thursday to mark the first anniversary of the 26/11 terror attacks on the city.


The gathering is to express solidarity with victims of the terror attack and will be held under the auspices of the US-based Simon Wiesenthal Center and India's Art of Living, according to Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Wiesenthal centre.


Some of those who survived the three days of terrorist attacks at least at five major places in this megapolis between 26/11 and 29/11 will attend the all-faith memorial meeting. Also attending the function will be families of some of the 166 victims, local leaders and foreign dignitaries.


"Religious leaders have a special obligation to publicly condemn terrorist attacks that are inspired and sanctioned by those who call themselves servants of God. We are gathering at the site of last year's attacks in solidarity with the people of India as they remember all the victims of 26/11, including the first-ever attack on Jews in India," Cooper said, addressing a special prayer meeting at the Hotel Trident-Oberoi here Tuesday evening.


This was the time for people of faith to openly repudiate the culture of death nurtured in the name of religion while standing beside Indian friends to promote the sanctity of life, tolerance and freedom, he said.


"We are buoyed by the resilience of the world's largest democracy, her noble history of protecting minority peoples (Jews among them) and her commitment to our shared values," Rabbi Cooper added.


In his message on the occasion, Art of Living Foundation founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said: "26/11 in Mumbai was the ultimate test of patience and forgiveness. Terrorists were striking every month before that. By now a strong message has gone out that we do not react, but we will respond to these acts resolutely."


The prayer meeting Tuesday was attended by Swami Gnana Tej of the Art of Living Foundation, Rabbi Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance, leading Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Dr. Ashok Arora, chief of Education Division, Bharat Soka Gakkai, and Sri Raman Tikka of the Shrimad Rajchandra Ashram.


Also present were manager of Hotel Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Karambir Kang, and Rabbi Avraham Berkowitz, director of the Chabad Mumbai Relief Fund.


Besides several survivors of the terror attacks and family members of some of the victims, prominent personalities who will attend the Nov 26 comemorative event are former CBI director D.R. Kaarthikeyan, Israeli Consul-General in Mumbai Orna Sagiv, Ervad Ramiyar Parvez Karanjia and Fr. Caesar D'Mello.


After the prayer meeting Tuesday, the assembled people went to the Chabad House in Colaba - and lit candles in memory of the victims of the terror attacks.


Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on a visit to Mumbai Monday also visited the Chabad House - which was devastated in last year's attacks, offered homage and interacted with the local Jewish community there.







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