Baha'is around the world host interfaith prayers for peace

September 17, 2000

UNITED NATIONS — Baha'is around the world -- from Cote d'Ivoire to Uruguay, from Thailand to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands -- hosted interfaith prayer gatherings in their homes, schools and community centers to mark the opening of the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders, which was held at the United Nations 28-29 August 2000.

The prayers came in response to a call, issued on 3 August 2000, for people everywhere to observe a Day of Prayer for World Peace on the Summit's opening day.

The Summit brought together more than 1,000 spiritual and religious leaders representing every major world religion in an effort to "forge a partnership of peace."

Among the local and national events hosted by Baha'is in support of the Summit were:

-- The Baha'is of Dominica hosted a prayer gathering in an auditorium at the University of West Indies Centre in Roseau. Prayers from 13 of the religions represented at the Summit were read, and the program closed with a quotation from "The Promise of World Peace," a statement to the peoples of the world issued in 1985 by the Universal House of Justice, the international governing council of the Baha'i Faith.

-- In Mauritius, the National Spiritual Assembly invited representatives of the Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu communities to a prayer gathering at the Baha'i Institute in Belle Rose. The event was covered by the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation radio and television services. "Some 50 persons fervently joined in with their prayers in a spiritual surge for the establishment of world peace," the Assembly reported.

-- In Ireland, representatives of several of the world's major faiths gathered at the Baha'i Centre in Dublin, Ireland, on 28 August to participate in a devotional program of extracts from Baha'i, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Islamic, Zoroastrian and Sikh sacred texts. Each guest was presented with a flower blossom on arrival. After devotions and music, tea was served and the representatives of the various religions learned about each other's faiths and traditions in an atmosphere of goodwill. Irish Baha'is sponsored similar events in Cavan, Fingal (a suburb of Dublin), Co. Sligo, Shannon and Waterford.

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Mr. Patrick Dawson (Baha’i), Dr. D. N. Puri (Sikh), Professor A. N. Pandeya (Hindu), and Ms. Janice Johnston (Religious Society of Friends) at an interfaith devotional in the Baha’i Centre in Dublin, Ireland to mark the opening of the United Nations Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders in New York on 28 August 2000.

-- In Cote d'Ivoire, the Baha'is of Abidjan and Dabou invited Animist, Jewish, Catholic and Muslim representatives to pray for peace at the Cocody Baha'i Center on 28 August 2000. The Ministry of Communication sent a representative. The invitation to the event was broadcast on the national radio, on the national television evening news, and in four articles in the main national newspapers. There were readings from the Old Testament, the Bible, the Koran and the Baha'i scriptures, followed by statements on world peace by the various religious representatives. Two major newspapers sent journalists to the event, and the following day the national radio broadcast an interview with the Baha'i, Christian and Muslim representatives. Similar events were held in Danan, in Bouak, where two Imams came and the local television filmed the meeting, and in Ferke, where the Baha'is arranged a one-hour program on the local radio.

-- In the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Baha'is held a devotional gathering at the Baha'i community center in Port Blair, and invited representatives of the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh communities to chant and recite prayers for world peace. About 60 people attended, and the event was covered by local newspapers and announced on the local bulletin of All India Radio.

-- In Thailand, the Santitham School, a Baha'i-run primary school in Yasothon, held a gathering of about 250 students, teachers and staff to pray for world peace on 31 August 2000. Three Buddhist monks, two Muslim representatives and three Catholic nuns were invited to share their prayers with the students. The Provincial Education Officer and the director of the District Education Office also attended. The Buddhist monks prayed in Bali for compassion toward all mankind and all living beings, and the Catholic nuns prayed that all mankind be safeguarded by the love of God. Several students recited Baha'i prayers for the unity of mankind. Local radio and television stations covered the event.

-- In India, the State Baha'i Council of Sikkim organised a prayer gathering at the Hotel Rendezvous in Gangtok on August 28. Although they had only four days to organise the event, the Baha'is sent out more than 100 invitations to dignitaries and religious leaders. Nearly everyone agreed to participate. The Governor of Sikkim, Choudhary Randhir Singh, attended along with representatives of the Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Sikh, and Jain communities. News of the gathering was carried on the Sikkim cable television and several local and regional newspapers.

Other prayer gatherings were held at the Baha'i House of Worship in Panama City, Panama, at the Baha'i Centre in Luanda, Angola, and at the Baha'i Center in Montevideo, Uruguay.