Dacca – “We serve iftar meals to the Muslim brothers and sisters during the holy Ramadan, to contribute to religious harmony and humanity”: says to Agenzia Fides monk Buddhapriya Mahathero, president of the financiers of the Dhammarajika Buddhist monastery, in the Bashabo Sabujbagh area of the capital Dhaka. The monk tells Fides that eight years ago he was walking down the street in Dhaka and saw so many poor Muslims waiting for food during Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims. So he thought of starting the initiative of inter-religious solidarity. Since then, every day during Ramadan, 500 evening meals are served to the poorest Muslims living near the Buddhist monastery where Buddhapriya Mahathero lives, in an initiative that generates so much gratitude.
Mahammad Iqubal, one of the Muslims, notes: “The behavior of Buddhists is a good example in this country, it is an exemplary relationship of faith and harmony”.
Christians also appreciated this initiative by the Buddhist. Shymol Rozario, a young Catholic who lives in the same area in Dhaka goes to the office next to the Buddhist monastery, he tells Fides: “I think that Buddhists are doing an excellent job, showing their compassion and generosity. They teach us solidarity, the respect for the other faith that is very important in this era in which religious violence often occurs”.
The Dharmarajika monastery was founded in 1960 and is known in Dhaka for the social commitment of the monks. Within the religious complex, the monks run an orphanage, a school and a clinic. Every day they also distribute drinking water for locals who suffer from lack of water.
Bangladesh is a country where Muslims are 90% of the population, Hindus make up 8.5%, while Buddhists are 0.5% and Christians 0.2%, along with other animist religious minorities.
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