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A multicultural and multifaith group of forty people gathered in Bangkok on November 8, 2014 to mark the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted. Convened by the Christian Youth Development Movement and International Christian Concern, the spirit of the event was captured in the phrase: "If one suffers, we all suffer".


The gathering included Christians, Sikhs and Buddhists who came together to remember the persecuted and to share what their religions offer to the other religions to encourage the acceptance of diversity and respect for all irrespective of creed, ethnicity or nationality.

“Our world is full of immense diversity”, convener Shamiel Saleem said. “And that diversity is reflected in the variety of people at our event. There were people from different countries - Australia, the US, Thailand, India, Norway, Poland, Netherlands, United Kingdom, China, Philippines, Burma and Pakistan.”

 

Three religious leaders - from Australia, Thailand and India but all living in Thailand - led this gathering, sharing what their religious tradition had to say about persecution.

Fr. Michael Kelly SJ, Chief Executive of Union of Catholic Asian News looked at Jesus’ central message declared in the Beatitudes for how Christians view the welfare of outsiders and the marginalized as central to God’s and every Christians’ attention

Sikh Social activist and businessman Mr. Kuldip Singh shared how the Sikh religion sees hospitality and welcome to all as central to their beliefs, displayed in the way all are welcomed to eat together at Sikh Temples worldwide.

Thai Monk Roung shared his beliefs according to his Buddhist faith, that what is at the heart of Buddhist belief is respect, love and harmony between people which is to be extended by Buddhists to all irrespective of faith or tradition

At the end of the event, a Candle light service was held during which all paused in silent prayer for one minute to remember the people who are tortured, harassed, discriminated or threatened and even killed just because they follow a religion.  There was special remembrance of the Pakistani Christian couple who were beaten and then burned alive in brick Kiln by an angry mob of 1,500 who claimed they had blasphemed.

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