“Bound to Live Together: Faiths & Cultures in Dialogue”, Munich, Sept 11-13, 2011

IARF’s Dr. Dhalla lights the Lamp of Peace on behalf of the Zoroastrian community worldwide

On 11 September 2011, a commemoration ceremony was held in the open for the victims who perished in the tragedy of 9/11 in New York. This was held in Marshallplatz in the afternoon in the presence of His Excellency, Christian Wulff, President of the Federal Republic of Germany. IARF’s Dr. Homi Dhalla was invited as sole Zoroastrian representative, with religious leaders from various parts of the world representing various traditions participating. Besides this, there were prominent political personalities and a few Heads of State. Images of 9/11 were projected on a large screen and brief condolence messages were exchanged with New York. This was followed by the opening ceremony where the initial speech was delivered by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany. On this occasion, thematic remarks were made by Alpha Conde, President of the Republic of Guinea and Danilo Turk, President of the Republic of Slovenia.

           On September 12, a Plenary Session was held when the keynote speech was delivered by Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. This was followed by brief remarks by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich.
A number of sessions were held on September 12-13, dealing with peace, religious freedom, human rights, globalization, immigration, Jewish-Christian dialogue etc. Dr. Dhalla participated in the panel focusing on “Religions in Asia: The Challenge of Modernity”. He presented a paper entitled “How religions in Asia are working towards social transformation”. This session was chaired by Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai. A question-answer session followed the presentation of these papers.

Panel: “How religions in Asia are working towards social transformation”.

On September 13, the delegates were taken to the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial site where a brief prayer meeting was held. Thereafter, the representatives of the various religious traditions were provided separate locations to recite prayers and perform a simple ceremony. After playing a monajat, Dr. Dhalla recited a very brief talk on the Zoroastrian religion followed by the performance of the Kusti ritual. Thereafter, he recited certain prayers on ‘Peace’ from the Zoroastrian scriptures, also furnishing a simple translation. He also answered a number of questions from the audience.
     This was followed by a peace procession leading to the Marienplatz where thousands had gathered for the closing ceremony. The representatives were seated on a podium. Being the concluding session, a few speeches were delivered. Dr. Dhalla was asked to light the Lamp of Peace on behalf of the Zoroastrian community worldwide.

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