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Hindu temple in Britain prays for world peace

The event also included a musical evening led by film composer Ravindra Jain.

india Updated: Apr 25, 2007 13:03 IST

A Hindu chaplain of Britain's armed forces led religious leaders of different faiths in four-day prayers for world peace and unity at a temple in north England.

The event, organised by Acharya Krishan K Attri - the first Hindu chaplain of the armed forces, included performing the Shri Shat Chandi Mahayagya, which was conducted by 20 priests, of who two were from India.

The event in Newcastle's Hindu Temple last week was attended by the Anglican Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend Martin Wharton, leaders representing Buddhism, Baha'i, Jainism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism and Christian faiths.

The gathering signed a common statement pledging their commitment to harmony in the region. It was the first pledge of its kind organised in Britain, according to Attri.

The event also included a musical evening led by noted film composer Ravindra Jain.

Jain told The Journal, Newcastle: "It is the first time an event of this magnitude has been organised in the north and even in the whole of the country. People from all over the UK and from far away as India attended and it was a huge success.

"It has generated a new spirit in the region and everyone is united like one family. All of the leaders were there in person and there was a genuine appreciation of the event. The whole community listened and appreciated."

The Hindu Temple in Newcastle is a registered charity organisation and is in existence for over 50 years. The four-day event was attended by 200 people from various parts of Britain.

There was also an army presentation by Brigadier Richard Dennis, with an aim to encourage those from ethnic backgrounds to consider a career in the armed forces.

The common statement read out at the special all-faith prayer said: "We affirm our desire to promote respect and tolerance for the integrity of each others' beliefs, cultures and traditions.

We recognise that as neighbours we have responsibilities to the community, the world and ourselves.

"We, therefore, urge all citizens both religious and non-religious, to put aside intolerance, prejudice and divisiveness to attain peaceful and fruitful co-existence in our area."

Bishop Wharton said: "During the time of the celebration, there were over 30 wars being fought out all over the world, with all the attendant destruction and misery, violence and death, despoliation and despair. These are the inevitable consequences of war - whether the conflicts be international, or more local.

"That is why people, representing the diversity of religious communities to be found in Newcastle, and more widely in the northeast, came together because the peace of the world has to be prayed for by the faiths of the world."

He added: "To pray for peace commits all those who so pray to work for peace individually, in families, neighbourhoods, cities, and the world. Prayer changes things and not least the hearts and minds and lives of all those who engage in prayer.

"At the end of the time of prayer, a signed statement was read committing all the members of faith communities to live together in peace good will and harmony."

Attri said: "The atmosphere was wonderful and everyone worked together to make this a really special occasion. Everything came from India, from the costumes to the musicians.

"We had 100 per cent support from the police and the community throughout the event, which was a real joy. I feel it has been a great success and much appreciated."