Interfaith gathering of senior representatives followed by visit to Shrine of the Bab


(From left) Carmel Irandoust, deputy secretary-general of the Baha’i International Community, reads a prayer as Sheikh Jaber Mansour, Rabbi David Metzger, Emir Muhammad Sharif Odeh, and Father Yousef Yakoub listen.

In a pronounced show of interreligious unity, 10 representatives of the Christian, Druze, Jewish, Muslim, and Baha’i faiths, were joined by 17 Roman Catholic bishops and their advisers from abroad for a special interfaith discussion on religious coexistence on 14 January. After, the diverse group visited the Shrine of the Bab.


The panelists, who represented each of the participating religious communities, focused on how their coreligionists can not only nurture a spirit of mutual tolerance and coexistence but also collaborate on efforts to build unity. A number of speakers noted that the principles of dialogue, tolerance, respect, coexistence, and love for one another are highlighted throughout their sacred scriptures. And in order to create bonds of unity among people of different religions and dispel indifference and prejudice, it is important for people to communicate with and know each other, several of the panelists explained.


Following the discussion at the Baha’i World Centre, prayers were recited in Arabic, English, and Hebrew. The 50 participants then walked to the nearby Shrine of the Bab, a domed building on Mt. Carmel in Haifa, Israel, where the sacred remains of the Herald of the Baha’i Faith are entombed.

(From left) Emir Muhammad Sharif Odeh, Baha’i International Community Deputy Secretary-General Shervin Setareh, Rabbi Naama Dafni-Kelen, Bishop Michel Dubost, Sheikh Jaber Mansour, Sheikh Rashad Abo Alhigaa, and Father Yousef Yakoub spoke on a panel about nurturing a spirit of mutual tolerance and coexistence. Rabbi David Metzger, not pictured, also spoke on the panel.

The Catholic clerics were visiting the Holy Land on behalf of the Pope and the Church for an annual meeting to show support to the Christian community; they hailed from a dozen different countries, mostly in Europe and North America. Father Yousef Yakoub, the leader of Haifa’s Maronite Christian community, who co-organized the event, recited the stirring Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:


“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.”

Approximately 50 people, including 17 Roman Catholic and Anglican bishops and their advisers visiting from around the world, attended an interfaith gathering held at the Baha’i World Centre on 14 January.

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