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Published: Saturday, 10/2/2004

Multifaith event to celebrate Gandhi, peace

BY DAVID YONKE
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR
Gandhi in thought. Gandhi in thought.
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"Hatred ever kills; love never dies. Such is the vast difference between the two."

- Mahatma Gandhi

Peace and love will be the topics of two multifaith events this weekend presented as part of the Erase the Hate program.

A "Peace Conference in Honor of Mahatma Gandhi's Birthday" will be held from 9 a.m. to noon today at the Hindu Temple in Sylvania, and a program titled "Love Thy Neighbor" will be presented from 3 to 4 p.m. tomorrow at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo in Perrysburg.

Born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in Porbandar, Gujarat, India, on Oct. 2, 1869, the Hindu leader helped bring about India's independence from Great Britain through the practice of nonviolent noncooperation.

"●'Mahatma' means 'great soul,'●" said Pandit Anant Dixit of the Hindu Temple. "As you know, Mahatma Gandhi was more than his words; his life was his message. Whatever you say by words, it is how you live that makes the difference. From his life, you can learn something and apply it to your own life." Siva Yachoor, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Medical College of Ohio, will speak on the topic of "Gandhi as a Peace Leader."

"We need peace," said Ila Mehta. "We are at war. We are wounded. We are exhausted. Religion has a great potential for peace. It can work very well." Mrs. Mehta, who helped organize the seminar, will speak about the Hindu-influenced religion of Jainism and its strategy for peace.

Representatives from a variety of other faith groups also will discuss their religion's approach to peace, including the Rev. Denise Baker on Christianity; Bob Bennett on Buddhism; Judy Lee Trautman on Sufism; Cindy Bush on the Baha'i faith, and Fatima Al-Hayani on Islam. A statement on Judaism and peace was written by Joel Beren, head of the United Jewish Council of Greater Toledo, and will be read by Woody Trautman.

Moderating the program will be David Stern, dean and professor of philosophy at the University of Toledo.

Tomorrow's program on "Love Thy Neighbor" will start at 3 p.m. at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, 25877 Scheider Rd., Perrysburg Township.

Dr. S. Zaheer Hasan, president of the Islamic Center, said the speakers will include Bishop Leonard Blair of the Toledo Catholic Diocese; the Rev. Larry Clark of Toledo Metropolitan Mission; Juanita Green of the Board of Community Relations, and Imam Farooq Abo-Elzahab of the Islamic Center.

Erase the Hate consists of programs sponsored by religious, educational, and community organizations that seek to develop and enhance respect among racial, religious, and cultural groups.

- David Yonke



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