Members of different communities, ethnic groups, faiths and nationalities gathered around a Ramadan meal in solidarity with an interreligious group of people who were fasting to cement commitments to peace, tolerance and respect within faiths in Manama, May 30, 2018 at the International Peace Institute, Middle East & North Africa, (IPI MENA).
Marking the middle of the holy month of Ramadan with an Iftar, or fast breaking meal, hundreds of people from different religious and nationality affiliations gathered in a church, for an “Iftar for Peace.” The initiative was hosted by Al Bayareq Al Baydhaa, (The White Flags,) in cooperation with the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), and IPI MENA.
The event was attended by ambassadors, government officials, dignitaries and religious leaders who served food and beverages to interreligious guests at the National Evangelical Church in a united call for interfaith peace.
In a statement to the media, Ausamah Al Absi, Head of LMRA, stressed the need for peaceful coexistence between faiths and cultures to ensure that “civil societies, international bodies, and government bodies can come together” to harmonize principles of tolerance and respect.
Reverend Hani Aziz, Pastor of the National Evangelical Church and Head of the Bahrain Society for Tolerance and Interfaith Coexistence, reinforced this view in his statement, stressing the diverse communities obligation is to incorporate and integrate all layers of society in order to create a culture of acceptance and therefore peace.
Noting the very diverse interfaith attendees, Nejib Friji, Director, IPI MENA, stated their contribution to the Iftar for Peace was a testament of their commitment, as well as “the Kingdom of Bahrain, IPI and all other nations represented by their ambassadors, towards the need to further reinforce the culture of peace and Interfaith Dialogue that is deeply enshrined in all beliefs and faiths.” He hailed the interfaith unity illustrated by the ambassadors and officials serving those who had been fasting this important meal. He said the event “carries more than one message.” Friji called on the “regional and multilateral system to stand together to serve all causes of peace through a united interfaith dialogue.”