Interfaith in Pakistan Fr. James Channan Speaks Out for Unity Made Visible

“We have 9/11 every day in Pakistan,” said Fr. James Channan, Regional Coordinator for the United Religions Initiative (URI) in Pakistan, speaking on “Interfaith in Pakistan” at the Chapel at Croton Falls on Sunday, July 10, 2011. He explained that more than 35,000 people in his country have been killed by terrorists, making ordinary life very unsafe. There are now guards outside of mosques and churches. And it was a particular shock when Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian who had been appointed Federal Minister for Minorities, was assassinated in March 2011 for his stance on the blasphemy laws often used as an excuse for persecution. Fr. Channan believes that ignorance is the root cause of terrorism and thus education is the real key to a brighter future.

Fr. Channan, a Catholic priest who has dedicated his life of Christian service both to his own faith and to promoting harmony among people of diverse faiths, was the guest of Unity Made Visible, a Cooperation Circle of the United Religions Initiative in northern Westchester, New York. He was invited by Rev. Deborah Moldow, an interfaith minister at the Chapel who is a longtime friend of Fr. Channan. Deborah and Fr. James met many times over the URI’s formative years, at the URI’s Charter signing in 2000, and at the United Nations, where Deborah represents the World Peace Prayer Society. Their friendship deepened through the World Peace Prayer Society as Fr. Channan began planting Peace Poles in many important locations in Pakistan, including at the new Peace Center he inaugurated in Lahore in 2010.



Unity Made Visible is known for its Learning Series, introducing representatives of various faith traditions that may be less familiar to local residents. UMV has also hosted other guests from abroad as part of this series, in a continuous quest to broaden our horizons of faith. Among the diverse audience who attended the talk by Fr. Channan were Rev. Paul Briggs, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church; Renuka Kumar, who is a frequent representative of Hinduism at the Interfaith Sundays at the Chapel and her son Samir; Rev. Gail Burger of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.; and Dr. Mahjabeen Hassan of the American Muslim Women's Association.

Dr. Hassan, who grew up in Pakistan, stressed pride in the education she received at Dominican schools. She noted that in those days people were grateful to the Catholics for the educational opportunities they provided. Dr. Hassan expressed shame that her fellow Pakistani Muslims were not more vocal against the extremists, saying, “Our Muslim leaders are so silent that it is deafening!”


Fr. Channan has done extraordinary work building inter-religious harmony through the URI in Pakistan, which now has 44 multifaith Cooperation Circles, an impressive achievement in a nation where 97% of the citizens are of the same religion. The Cooperation Circles include Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Baha’is, and a small number of Buddhists. URI Pakistan also boasts one of the United Religions Initiative’s three Global Council trustees from the Asia region, Maulana Syed Muhammad Abdul Khabir Azad, who the youngest Grand Imam of Badshahi Mosque, the largest mosque in Lahore, Pakistan.


When asked the first two priorities for his work, Fr. Channan did not hesitate. “Interfaith harmony is my top priority,” he said, “And my second is the empowerment of women.” He described the excellent work of Sr. Sabina Rifat, who has launched a Womens Wing for URI Pakistan, which provides both trauma counseling and employment training for disadvantaged women of all faiths.

Unity Made Visible is grateful to Fr. Channan for sharing his extraordinary life and work with us. We will feel connected to URI Pakistan every International Day of Peace, when we rededicate the Peace Pole at Antioch Baptist Church – and the same will be true for the Chapel at Croton Falls, which will also rededicate its Peace Pole in honor of the IDP.


May Peace Prevail in Pakistan!

Recent Messages
View All Messages
Local News
View All News
Global News
View All News
Recent Pictures






Photo Gallery
Peace Center is very important institution which is playing a significant role in spite of all the difficulties we are confronted with. A couple of Dominican Friars are active in Christian- Muslim dialogue and they are well known both nationally and internationally for promoting Christian-Muslim dialogue. It is top priority of the Dominican Order in the world and in Pakistan as well.
Local News
Global News
Photo Gallery
Important Links
Find us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Join us on Linked in
125-B, Pak Arab Housing Scheme,
Ferozepur Road, Lahore 54600,
All Rights Reserved by Peace Center Pakistan.  
Website Developed By: Webworx Technologies