ASIA/PAKISTAN – Christians and Muslims launch joint symbolic olive branch peace campaign
Lahore – Christians and Muslim in Pakistan determined to build social and religious peace in that country are launching a symbolic olive branch campaign in a shared endeavour: Fides was informed by the Catholic Bishops’ National Commission for Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism , chaired by archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw. To further peace and harmony in every diocese in Pakistan olive trees will be planted in the grounds of schools, churches, mosques, madrassas, seminaries, and other Christian and Muslim institutions.
“The evergreen olive tree is symbolic of lasting abundance, joy and peace, wisdom, fertility, strength and purity. In the Bible the dove returns to Noah carrying in its beak an olive branch to prove that the deluge has ended. In the Holy Koran the olive is regarded as a precious fruit”, Fides is reminded by Fr Francis Nadeem, executive secretary of the mentioned Commission .
“Muslim leaders –Nadeem says – are asking for olive trees to be planted in seminaries where young Muslims study and can learn to become lovers of peace. This intends to nurture the innate human desire to live in peace. The aim is to promote peace and harmony among children too. Just as olive trees grow day by day in the garden of a seminary, so attitudes and warm relations can thrive among its resident students and with neighbours”. It is significant that this campaign which begins in Lent, will continue through the whole of Easter time, the Commission says, adding that at least five Muslim schools in every diocese have joined the initiative.
Other events marked by positive interreligious relations include the announcement that the social-political Muslim congregation Majlias Wahadat Muslimin, which works together with the Catholic Bishops’ National Commission for Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism intends to open an inter-confessional wing to promote and host regular initiatives of Muslim-Christian dialogue.