For the first time in the history of the famous Udupi Sri Krishna Temple, members of the Muslim community attended an Iftar organised at the temple on Saturday night.
Over 150 members of the community participated in the ‘Souharda Upahara Koota’ (harmony breakfast meet) held at the temple’s Annabrahma Dining Hall on the eve of Eid.
The event was mooted by Vishwesha Tirtha Swami of Paryaya Pejawar Mutt, who is currently in his fifth Paryaya, The Hindu reported.
The members of the Muslim community, who had gathered in the hall, broke their fast at 6.59 pm. Banana, watermelon, apple, dates and cashew nuts along with ‘kashaya’, a drink made of black pepper were served to the members at the dining hall.
Vishwesha Tirtha Swami served dates to those who had gathered for the Iftar.
The seer urged the people of Karnataka to live in peace and harmony.
“People from all religions must be tolerant and co-exist peacefully. Muslims have shown lot of affection for me in Mangaluru, Kasaragod and Bhatkal. They have given their offering during the Paryaya festival,” the seer, who has been closely associated with right-wing Hindutva group, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, said.
“Karnataka, especially in the coastal areas, must become an area which is peaceful and set an example for the state to be tolerant. All of us are children of the same creator,” he added.
Although in his third Paryaya, which was 30 years ago, the seer had organised a Hindu–Muslim Sammelan during the Eid festival at Rajangana Hall in Udupi, this is the first time members of the Muslim community gathered at the temple’s premises to break their Ramzan fast.
“God is one to all mankind. Hindus and Muslims should live together in harmony. When there was an attempt to gherao Sri Krishna Temple, Muslims came forward to defend the Mutt. There is history where both communities have co-existed peacefully in Udupi. It should become the model for people in Karnataka,” the seer said.
After breaking the fast, members performed namaz on the second floor of the dining hall building under the guidance of Maulana Innayatullah, Imam of Anjuman Masjid.
MA Gafoor, the Khateeb of Anjuman Masjid, who is also the chairman of the Karnataka Minorities Development Corporation, said that the message of peace and harmony, which began in Udupi, must be spread throughout the world.
Sri Sri Vishwaprasanna Theertha, the junior Pejawar Swamiji, Rahim Uchil from the BJP’s Minority cell, Gurme Suresh Shetty of BJP, Ansar Ahmed of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, and Abid Ali from the Congress party were also present for the Iftar.
“The Iftar koota and offering of namaz at a temple is a historic decision and a great sign of communal harmony shown by the Pejawar Mutt,” MA Gafoor said.