Hindu Muslim Unity: Muslims pray in church, Hindus perform puja in mosque

2013/10/24 Leave a comment

DELHI: When UK priest Isaac Poobalan threw open his church for Muslims to pray one bone-chilling day, it was a sterling example of interfaith harmony. Atop Taragarh Hill in Ajmer, the call of the muezzin from Muslim areas in Anderkot and the tinkling of bells from the 16th century Jharneshwar Temple intermingle to create a divine cadence. Every morning, Mahant Vishnu Gopal Taparia scales the hilly tract to meet his Muslim friends. Every Tuesday, Muslim children gather around the temple for prasad.

It wasn’t always like this. Hindus began to migrate from here due to communal tension and Partition saw their complete exodus. “Finally, Muslim elders mediated and brought a priest for puja,” says Maulana Syed Noorul Haque, an advocate. “Since then, puja has been performed here every day.”

Meanwhile, in Parumala, 75 km from Cochin, St Gregorios’ shrine rises white and striking against the emerald green foliage. Here, Muslims and Hindus can be seen fervently praying in front of the saint’s relics. Youhanon Mar Demetrios, one of the Metropolitans of the Orthodox Syrian Church, says, “All our churches are open to people of all faiths. That alone is a welcoming gesture by our church.”

Read more: Communal Harmony

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Hindu festival celebrates interfaith unity

2013/10/17 Leave a comment

Indonesian Hindus in Jagannath temple

BALI:  According to data from Indonesia’s Religious Affairs Ministry in Denpasar, 3.2 million Hindus live side by side in Bali with 348,617 Muslims, 41,799 Christians, 33,233 Catholics, 19,978 Buddhists and 124 Confucians.

Balinese Hindus have already celebrated two major religious events this year: Nyepi and Galungan — each providing an opportunity for the island’s residents to display interfaith tolerance and friendship.  “One day before Galungan, our family usually sends cakes, fruit, and tape ketan hitam (a rice dish) to our neighbours and friends. Not only Hindus, but also to Muslims, Christians, and other religions. For me, the important thing from the ngejot tradition is how we can maintain our togetherness and tolerance among different religions.” said one Hindu. It is not important what kind of food they send. “,” he said.

In addition a small forum in Denpasar that engages in dialogue to enhance religious tolerance. “We hope a forum like this will continue on a larger scale. The dialogue like this will open more opportunities for everyone to learn from each other and to strengthen relationships among religious followers,” said a Muslim who attended the meeting.

Read more: Communal Harmony

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Muslim industrialist rebuilds temple

2013/10/10 Leave a comment

Muslim industrialist Ashik Ali Nathani helped rebuild Ganesh temple formerly in ruins

RANTHAMBORE: Famous as one of India’s finest tiger sanctuaries, Ranthambore is now also a shining example of India’s secular traditions.

The Ganesh Dham temple on the periphery of the Ranthambore tiger reserve was in ruins till last year. But when Mumbai-based Muslim industrialist, Ashik Ali Nathani saw its terrible condition, he was inspired to revamp the temple as a means to promote communal harmony.

“Through their help and the blessings of Allah, I’ve been able to accomplish this mission. I don’t see any difference between a temple and mosque, they are all places of worship,” said Ashik Ali Nathani.

Read more & Watch Video:  Communal Harmony

Related links:
Hindu businessman builds mosque and church in Kerala
Muslim businessman rebuilds temple in in Rajasthan

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Mothers work for communal harmony

2013/10/03 Leave a comment

women praying for communal harmony

MUMBAI: A Mumbai-based organization has tied up with an international women’s advocacy group to create awareness about the need for religious tolerance and communal harmony.

“The idea is to encourage women to fight against violent extremism by instilling in their families the idea of a peaceful and non-violent world. It is our belief that if mothers themselves adhere to values like tolerance and understanding of world cultures, we will be able to create a fair, just and unprejudiced world”

Read more:  Communal Harmony

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Indonesian Muslims honor Hindu day of silence

2013/09/26 1 comment

Balinese Hindus engaged in silent prayer

BALI: The people of Bali, Indonesia celebrated the Hindu Day of Silence, Nyepi, in remarkable harmony. Muslims and other non-Hindus on the island showed respect for the observance. Nyepi is considered a cleansing day of stillness and silence that ushers in the New Year on the Balinese calendar with four solemn restrictions: no fire, no working, no traveling and no entertainment for 24 hours. Some refrain from eating and talking as well.

“We urged Muslims in Bali and elsewhere not to disturb the celebration of Nyepi. It is an important Hindu celebration,” the head of a Muslim organization said. Muslims in Bali  were encouraged to pray at a mosque that could be reached by foot during the holiday and asked not to ride motorcycles or other vehicles. Muslims also performed Friday prayer, but did so without loudspeakers out of respect for Nyepi.

Read more: Communal Harmony

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Imams organize interfaith meeting

2013/09/19 Leave a comment

Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi & Swami Ramdev

AHMEDABAD: Religious leaders from both Hindu and Muslim community came together in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad city to promote communal harmony and peace. The event to promote communal solidarity was organized by the All India Organization of Imams of Mosques.

The event witnessed the participation of religious leaders belonging to different faiths including influential Hindu preachers – Jagat Guru Shankracharya representing Kashi Kochi peeth (seat) and Chidanand Maharaj from the holy town of Rishikesh.

“This meet is organised just to promote communal harmony and unity among people, all Indians should be united, which is the reason behind this meet,” said Shankracharya.

“Right now, we are talking about improving the whole society. Our aim is to reduce the gap between two major communities of Hindus and Muslims and to bring a solution to each and every problem with the help of talks,” added Imam Mohammed Ilyasi, Muslim preacher and the organizer of the meet.

Read more: Communal Harmony

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Understanding the impact of Hindu Muslim shared bondage in South Africa

2013/09/12 Leave a comment

South Africa: 1947 Doctors Pact to form alliance between African Indian Congress and African National Congress

by Murali Balaji (guest writer)

While an upcoming film on Nelson Mandela’s life will undoubtedly shed light on his impact on South African freedom, an overlooked story in the struggle against Apartheid is the unity between Hindus and Muslims in the country during the period of oppression.

Due to laws in the country that made it illegal for non-Christian marriages to be recognized as Christian ones, and special restrictions on the religious worship rights of Hindus and Muslims, both groups often joined forces in representing the interests of the greater South African Indian community.

That’s why the experiences of Hindus and Muslims against discriminatory laws, as noted by Mahatma Gandhi in his autobiography, and later, the struggle against anti-Black Apartheid, are significant in shaping the contemporary history and politics of South Africa. Perhaps the greatest example of this cooperation was reflected in the alliance between GM “Monty” Naicker, a Hindu and president of the Natal Indian Congress, and Yusuf Dadoo, a Muslim and president of the Transvaal Indian Congress. Both men also believed their struggle for greater religious rights went hand-in-hand with the native Africans’ struggles against racial oppression.

Similarly, the experiences of Hindu and Muslim prisoners at South Africa’s Robben Island, bonded both groups as they fought against their mistreatment at the hands of white South African prison officers.

While this legacy might not be well understood in the United States or in India, the shared struggle remains firmly etched in the social, cultural and political fabric of South Africa.

Further reading: In the Shadow of Chief Albert Luthuli by Logan Naidoo
Source: WEB DuBouis archives, Harvard University

Categories: Suggested reading

Hindu Muslim Unity: Where Hindus and Muslims pray together

2013/09/05 1 comment
Srimushnam Bhuvarahaswamy Temple

Srimushnam Bhuvarahaswamy Temple

KILLAI: A tradition of over 150 years in Killai, a coastal village in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu, delivers lessons in communal amity when parts of the country have betrayed vulnerability to intolerance.

Hazrat Sufi Muhammad Naqeebullah Shah Rahmatullah Aleh

Hazrat Sufi Muhammad Naqeebullah Shah Rahmatullah Aleh

The age-old harmony will be seen when Muslims of the village receive Hindu deity Bhoo Varahaswamy (the boar avatar of Vishnu) from his temple at Srimushnam, 60 km away. Every year, Bhoo Varahaswamy is taken out in a procession for the Brahmotsatava festival between February and March. The procession receives a grand welcome in Killai where it halts at a dargah built for Sufi saint Hazrath Syed Sha Rahmathullah Vali Shuttary.

The Imam offers prayers, a garland and oblation of 11 kg of rice, five coconuts and Rs. 501 to the deity. Later, a silk shawl on the deity is offered at the dargah and a chaddar is offered for the deity in return. The practice is linked to varying versions of land gifted to the temple by either the Sufi saint or one of his descendants.

Tracing the origins of this practice, Saqaf said that one of his predecessors had given 26 acres of land to the then tehsildar, Uppu Venkatrao, on a long lease and at low rent to help him demarcate the Dargah lands and draw up the boundaries.

Read more: Communal Harmony

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Sikh, Muslim, Hindu unity in Punjab town

2013/08/29 Leave a comment

DD Logo1

MALERKLOTA: Religion has never been a barrier in this town where all faiths participate in each others religious festivals in this Punjabi city .   Watch full video: http://youtu.be/ZpE689zyFbc


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Hindu Muslim Unity: Quran and Gita promote same message and values

2013/08/22 2 comments

Two scriptures are placed before me. Both scriptures are believed to be the words of God. Over two billion people, representing a third of the humanity, swear by one or the other. Says God, I am the originator of heaven and earth… I alone have the power to create and to destroy. I open the other scripture and find these words of God: I am the creator of the whole world, and I have the power to destroy it.

To those who believe in the Quran or the Bhagavad Gita, or those (few) who believe in both, the striking similarity in the sayings of the two scriptures should cause no surprise. Both scriptures tell us that God’s message has come to the people from time to time all through the history of mankind (Quran, 40:79; Gita 4:1-3). A thread has been preordained to run through all the scriptures which came into being from time to time but no two scriptures are as close to each other in the letter and spirit as the Bhagvad Gita and the Quran.

Read more: Communal Harmony

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Muslim artisans create garlands for Hindu devotees

2013/08/15 Leave a comment

Muslim artisan creates garlands for Hindu devotees

AYODHYA:  Muslim artisans here continue to make floral decorations for Hindu devotees, weaving bonds of communal harmony in this ancient town.

“Hindu devotees either approach us directly for buying garlands and floral offerings, or purchase them from makeshift shops in the city where we supply the items daily. Priests of temples too contact us when they want to place large orders during Hindu festivals and religious functions,” While some Muslims have their own small gardens where they grow flowers, others purchase the flowers to make the garlands.

Read more + photos: Communal Harmony

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Eid celebrated in Hindu temple

2013/08/07 Leave a comment

Eid feast at mandir

MANGALORE: It was an evening of harmony and peace at Sri Gokarnatheshwara Temple, Kudroli, here, where Hindus and Muslims got together for ‘Eid Souharda Koota’ on Friday. It was a rare sight indeed to see burqa-clad Muslim women attending the programme held at the Glass House inside the temple premises. the Kudroli unit of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) organised this special programme to honour and promote the unity shared among the two communities.

The Commissioner of Mangalore Urban Development Authority quoted the Prophet Muhammed as saying that a believer is not the one who eats his fill when his neighbor is hungry. Jayaram Bhat Chinchalkar, seer of Venkatramana Temple at Dongerekeri, said peace of mind is essential to a man’s well-being, and it is necessary that it should be maintained. “While we should bring purity in our thoughts, in reality we do not try to do so. Fasting is a method where lot of impurities is removed from our minds. It does good not just to our health, but also will bring upon good to ourselves,” he said.

In his presidential address, Mohammed Kunhi, Joint Secretary of JIH, said that all problems arose due to political and money-related issues, never due to religion. It is a misconception that religion was the cause of several problems, he said. Delivering the Eid message, he said that one ought to be “open” in matters of the religion he/she followed. “What you believe should be seen in your actions, and your actions should follow your thoughts. Only then is it possible for him to attain purity. Being a believer of God doesn’t mean he’s good; one should also have discipline. One should love his wife and teach his children to honour others. If you do not honour a person, it is a crime in the court of the lord; this should be the main realisation,” he said.

Read more: Communal Harmony

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Muslim, Christians Donate to Kudroli Temple Chariot

2013/08/01 Leave a comment

Chariot pulling ceremony

MANGALORE: In the 18th century, a guru proclaimed that every creation of God has a right to worship freely and that there is only “One Caste, One Religion and One GOD.” He broke social taboos by giving equal access to the poor and to women. Eventually establishing the Kurdroli temple in the coastal town of Mangalore, interfaith harmony continues to this day.

The Muharat function for the golden chariot proposed to be built for Kudroli Lord Gokarnanatha temple was held on Sunday November 2. People belonging various communities including Hindus, Muslims and Christians have come forward to contribute to the cause. Representatives of these religions made contributions for the golden chariot through gold and cash components.

Read more: Communal Harmony

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Muslims offered prayer space in gurdwara

2013/07/25 Leave a comment


JOSHIMATH: Every year local Muslims congregated at a local park to offer Eid prayers. But because of heavy rains, many were unable to pray on the muddy ground so the Sikh community offered their gurdwara as a prayer space.

Watch to learn more:

Note: Sikhism is a distinct and separate religion from Hinduism & Islam but this piece is being shared in the spirit of communal harmony

Related stories:
Sikhism and Religious Unity
Sikhs & Hindus restore mosques
Sikhism’s 10th guru on Hindu-Muslim Unity

Categories: News

Hindu Muslim Unity: Muslim pilot first to rescue Kedarnath pilgrims

2013/07/18 Leave a comment

rescuing pilgrims in Kedarnath

DEHRADUN: When the IAF flew it first sortie to save pilgrims trapped by the raging waters of the Alaknanda in Kedarnath , at the cockpit was Wing Commander S M Yunus. The first batch of 20 people was evacuated to Guptkashi. From there, they made their way to Dehradun. Yunus reckons he might have flown about 500 people in innumerable sorties to safety. “We continued the operation on June 18 and 19,” he said from his current location in Joshimath. “I was then told to rescue people from the more isolated Harsil sector, ahead of Uttarkashi, and in a restricted helipad at about 6000 ft.”

So what was it like for a Muslim to be one of the first to come to the aid of Hindu pilgrims? Yunus laughs out loud before giving a quick answer. “In the Air Force we are taught only one religion – to be Indian . That is what IAF pilots are trained to be. Had it not been for such tragic circumstances, I would have been grateful and happy to see the holy shrine.”

Read more: Communal Harmony

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Muslims organize Hindu yatra for over 100 years

2013/07/11 Leave a comment

Jaganath temple, Puri

ORISSA: Close on the heels of the show of communal amity by inhabitants of Mohalla village in Kendrapara district on Rath Yatra day, yet another example of religious harmony was witnessed at Remada village in Orissa’s Jharsuguda district on Friday. The village, having a population of about 1,000, was the scene of camaraderie among local tribals and Muslims, who have joined hands to organise Rath Yatra every year for nearly 100 years now. In fact, the village headman (locally known as gountia), Mohammed Zamiullah, takes upon himself the task of organising the festival.

Hindus also reciprocated the feelings of the minority community in ample measure by joining their festivals. Mohammed Khalil and Maulana Mustquim Khan, gountias of the village have also written many plays and prayers based on Hindu lore, Hassan said.

Read more: Communal Harmony
Related story: Gujarati Muslims participate in Rath Yatra

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Hindu parents raise foster daughter as Muslim

2013/07/04 Leave a comment

Madhava and Lakshmi Reddy have raised Farzana as their own child according to Islamic traditions

HYDERABAD: There are still people around who stand by values, pluralism and tolerance. Madhava Reddy and his wife Lakshmi Reddy are perhaps the best hope for humanity. When they marry off their daughter Farzana on Sunday, they will have set a new benchmark for secularism. The girl, who lost her parents at an early age, could not have asked for better foster parents.

When none of her relatives came forward to adopt her, Madhava Reddy took her in his care. The Reddy couple, who have two sons, took an instant liking for Farzana. They not merely showered love and affection on her but brought her up according to Islamic traditions. Apart from giving her modern education, they ensured that Farzana was not deprived of Islamic teachings.

“We never forced our religion on her but allowed the girl to perform ‘namaz’, read the Quran and observe fast during Ramzan,” says foster father Madhava Reddy.

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Muslim housewife cares for Hindu widow

2013/06/27 Leave a comment

Muslim Rasiya Beevi helped Hindu widow Chellamma Antharjanam get her life back on track

Thirteen years ago, a Muslim housewife in Kerala had stopped an old and destitute Brahmin widow from jumping in front of a train and ending a life for which she saw no hope. The Muslim woman, then 34, took the 76-year-old Brahmin Namboothiri woman home, gave her shelter and sowed the seeds for an unusual relationship that bloomed despite their religious and cultural differences.

Beevi said she took the Brahmin woman home and got her to stay with her family comprising her husband and three children. Beevi bought a traditional Hindu lamp used in Kerala and other items Antharjanam needed to do pooja and allowed her to recite Hindu prayers in her Muslim home. In 2004, Beevi managed to get Rs 55,000 from a housing scheme for the homeless from her panchayat, chipped in with some of her savings and built a two-room house for Antharjanam.

Read more:  Communal Harmony

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Hindu Muslim Unity: Muslims construct Shiva temple

2013/06/20 Leave a comment

Chhath Festival, Bihar

BIHAR: Muslims have been quietly helping Hindus construct a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, ahead of the Chhath festival. “Muslims are not only donating money for temple construction, they are also actively involved in ensuring that it should come up soon,” said Rajkishore Raut, president of the Shiva Temple Construction Committee.

As Charminar and the Bhagyalakshmi temple abutting the 400-year-old monument get so much attention, these instances of collaboration between the two communities in temple construction cannot be ignored.

Read more: Communal Harmony

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Hindu Muslim Unity: celebrating Teej and Ramadan together

2013/06/13 1 comment


JAIPUR: The festivals of Teej and the first of the Ramzan coincided with each other after a gap of thirty years and saw people from the Hindu and Muslim communities celebrating the festivals with much love and peace in Jaipur. In Jaipur the festivals of Teej and the first day of Ramzan coincided after three decades. At many places Muslims showered rose and petals on Teej procession when it passed through Muslim-majority areas. Reciprocating in the same spirit, many Hindus chose to enjoy the special sweet dishes ‘kheer’, ‘halwa-parantha’ and ‘malai’ with bread during Iftaar.

Read more: Communal Harmony
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Hindu Muslim Unity: Muslims participate in yearly Hindu yatra

2013/06/06 Leave a comment

Muslim families offering prayers at Jagannath parade

AHMEDABAD: Every year Ahmedabad’s Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra passes through Muslim dominated areas of Jamalpur, Dariyapur, Shahpur and Kalupur. In past, the Police used to put ‘Janata curfew’ in practice in Muslim areas with cooperation of local peace committee members. Under this mechanism, the Muslims used to observe self imposed curfew during the passing of Rath Yatra in their area. This means, the Muslims would not come out of their homes during the time of Rath Yatra. Police with help of local Muslim leaders continued this practice for several years.

Hindus offering prasad (blessed food) to Muslims, Muslims offering flower garlands to Hindus

However for last two-three years, Janata curfew has stopped. The Muslims now come out of their homes and line up to see the Rath Yatra on both sides of the roads. The children enjoy it most. The photographs present a beautiful picture of Hindu-Muslim brotherhood. The Muslims are extending their hands for ‘prashad’ of Bhagwan Jagannath from a decorated motor truck of Rath Yatra procession.

When in Muslim dominated Dariapur area, one of the Raths was facing some problem in its wheel mechanism, the local Muslims rushed there to offer help on their own. They brought needed instruments and tools. Both Hindus and Muslims together repaired the Rath. Though it was an act of symbolic expression, it meant lot to Rath Yatris, when such act came from local Muslims. They released doves in sky to give a message of peace during Rath Yatra.

Read and see more photos:  Communal Harmony

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