As faith communities around the world commemorate the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S., an Anglican priest and inter-faith dialogue expert today called for prayers for those who lost their lives and for those “still struggling for peace and harmony” in the world.
The Rev. Rana Youab Khan, international interfaith dialogues assistant to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to the Anglican Communion, spoke at an inter-faith worship service held in the chapel of the national office of the Anglican Church of Canada, in Toronto. Khan also urged those in attendance to pray for those who create “disturbance, hatred and division.”
Khan, who advises Lambeth Palace on issues relating to Pakistan, is visiting Toronto and Montreal, where he will attend a series of inter-faith gatherings.
In his talk, Khan noted how the world has changed since Sept. 11, 2001, when coordinated suicide attacks by the Muslim extremist group, Al Qaeda, in New York City and Washington, D.C., killed nearly 3,000 people and triggered the U.S. war on Iraq and Afghanistan. Although the tragedy created “fear, insecurity and injustice,” it also has ignited “a passion for harmony” among many faith communities, he noted.
All Christian traditions and faith communities need to find ways to support one another “for the betterment of the world,” said Khan, who grew up in a Christian home in Pakistan, where 97% of the people are Muslim.
As a young boy, Khan attended a church school. After losing interest in his studies, he was sent into a local madrasa (primary school attached to a mosque) for two weeks “as punishment.” He ended up liking the school so much he stayed for five years.
While his classmates grew up to become imams, Khan—to his own astonishment— became an Anglican priest. “That is my own experience of how sometimes, God’s spirit is working in our lives,” he said, adding his studies have allowed him to navigate both Muslim and Christian faiths well.