An Iftar party was organised by the Consulate General of Israel in South India and Indian Economic Trade Organization at the Shangri-la hotel in Bengaluru.
Speaking to young people of various faiths, the President of the All India Imam association which is the body for Imams in the country mentioned the need for greater religious literacy in Indian society to counter prejudice and extremism.
Consul General of Israel Yaele Hashavit took the initiative of building bridges in the local community and invited Muslims of Bangalore to break their fast. The spread was a middle eastern combination with special dates from Israel and namaz arrangements being made before the Iftar dinner.
Asif Iqbal, president of the Indian Economic Trade Organization (IETO) who just returned from a successful trip of Israel 2 weeks ago mentioned the warmth and blessing he enjoyed in Israel. He said the people of the country were very welcoming and privileged during his stay.
During the Iftar, a section of Muslim doctors, engineers and IT professionals expressed interest to go on a 30 member goodwill delegation tour to Israel in October to be headed by Asif Iqbal.
The Muslims invited were from the educated class and are progressive minded influencers and thinkers in society who will contribute to a great extent by educating the ignorant masses about the advantages of developing Jewish-Muslim friendship and it’s Abrahimic origins for economical and strategic advantage.
“India being a great friend of Israel and we being the world’s second largest Muslim population of 200 million Muslims can take the initiative in bringing peace to the Middle East. Indian Muslims are highly secular and being in a country which gave 4 religions to the world Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism and Hinduism gives us Indian Muslims an edge to look at things from a Non-Arab perspective which is the real need of the hour,” said Iqbal who also met the Defense Minister and Housing minister of Israel last week in Latrun Defense week.
Head of Imams Association Umer Ahmed Ilyasi was very positive in the approach to the initiative taken by the Israel Consulate.
He said: “Such events are very important for the Muslims to integrate with Jewish culture and understand more about Israel. Iqbal should do more than this to bridge the gap and initiate by building bridges among different faiths. I have myself visited Israel and it is an amazing country with the history of Islam, Christianity and Judaism blending together. Muslims of India will add lot of value to the peace process of the Middle East.
Yaele Hashavit, Consul General, who initiated this Iftar dinner sought approvals from her foreign ministry in Israel and was personally responsible to create a middle eastern buffet keeping in mind the taste of local Bangalore Muslim population. She said: “Israel is a friendly country and we wanted to invite the Muslims of Bangalore to meet them and express our friendly gesture during the time of Ramadan and I recall the lovely memories of Iftar evenings in Jerusalem Arab market.”
Indian Economic Trade Organization (IETO) believes that trade and Commerce is a great platform for bringing people to people contact. IETO is planning to commemorate the 25 years of celebrating India-Israel relations. The prime minister of India Narendra Modi is slated to visit Israel in July, first ever historic one by an Indian Prime minister in 25 years.
Israel and India have cooperation in Defense, Agriculture, IT and Innovation and together have a great future considering their common interests, said Iqbal.