The Buddhist community of Bangladesh’s capital once more came out with its marvelous gesture of inter-faith harmony, offering poor and hungry Muslims the iftar, the evening meal that comes after the dawn to dusk Islamic fast during the sacred month of Ramadan. Since 2013 this initiative of the Dhammarajika Buddhist monastery in Dhaka’s Basabo has been contributing to the well-being of a society that has recently seen a surge in Islamic radicalism targeting minority communities.
At sunset, a long line of people wait outside the monastery gate. Each day from 350 to 400 meals are prepared, distributed in a cardboard box. Inside, potato pancakes, batter fried onion and brinjal slices, lentil dumplings, dates, puffed rice and a sugar syrup sweet.
According to monks, the holy month is the "best opportunity to help Muslims." The project is born from the will of the venerable Shuddhanando Mohathero, the highest authority of the temple. He believes that "humanity is the ultimate goal of human beings".
Dhammarajika Buddhist monastery was founded in 1951. Monk Karuna Bhikkhu states that the goal is to establish good relations with the majority Islamic community. In the country Buddhists represent less than 1% of the population, over a total of 160 million inhabitants. For Sakhina, a Muslim woman who cannot afford the cost of the meal, food freely distributed by monks is a real blessing. "Here we are accorded the respect we should have from our own fellow believers," Sakhina said. (Source: AsiaNews)