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Pakistani Dominican priest wins peace award for promoting interfaith dialogue

Mrs. Governor of the Punjab, Muhtarma Parveen Sarwar (third from left) presents Dominican Father James Channan the “Peace Award” during the National Interfaith Harmony and Peace Conference at Pearl Continental Hotel in Lahore on March 24, 2022. (Photo supplied)

A Dominican priest on March 24 received a peace award for promoting interfaith dialogue between Christians and Muslims in Pakistan. 

Mrs. Governor of the Punjab, Muhtarma Parveen Sarwar presented Father James Channan the “Peace Award” during the National Interfaith Harmony and Peace Conference at Pearl Continental Hotel in Lahore. 

“I had never imagined that my Christian-Muslim and interfaith dialogue mission will be so rewarding both at national and international levels. Thanks be to God,” said Father Channan.

The award was given by the Welfare Foundation Trust (WFT), represented by its head, Mahooda Saleem. WFT is a Pakistan-based Non-Governmental Organisation. 

Father Channan is the director of the Peace Center in Lahore. For decades, he has been promoting Christian-Muslim and interfaith dialogue in the Muslim-majority country, where Christians are a minority.

Christians make up 1.27 percent of Pakistan's population of 207.68 million as of May 2021.

Besides, he had won the “Martin Luther King Jr. Award, 2022” from the Rising Christians Union (RCU) for his contribution to society in Pakistan on March 19.

His efforts of peace and harmony are well recognized by one and all. 

In his acceptance speech, Father Channan thanked Mrs. Governor of the Punjab, Muhtarma Parveen Sarwar for the award and urged all to work together for the common good in society. 

Father Channan is also the regional coordinator in Pakistan for the United Religion Initiative (URI).

Saint Pope John Paul II appointed him to work with the Vatican's Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims for five years and as a consultant to the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue for 10 years.

He studied at the Pontifical Institute for Islamic Studies and the Arabic language in Rome from 1982 to 1985.

The priest obtained a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Emmanuel College, Boston, USA, received graduate credits from Harvard University, the USA, and a course on Peace Building from the American University, Washington DC, USA.

He has received an Honorary “Doctor of Divinity” Degree from Norway. He served as executive secretary of the National Commission for Christian Muslim Relations for 17 years. He was the organizer of the URI's 1,500 Miles Journey for Peace (Karachi to Khyber).

He has authored four books—two each in English and Urdu. He has devoted his life to promoting dialogue among religions in Pakistan.

One of his recent contributions, together with Caritas Pakistan, the social service wing of Catholic Bishops in Pakistan, and the Peace Center in Lahore, was to distribute relief goods to people affected by Covid-19 lockdowns in the country.

 

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