Vishwesha Tirtha Swami serves dates to Muslims in Udupi on Saturday. Photo: The News Minute

All religions wax lyrical about peace and harmony, but they don’t always practise what they preach.

In a heartening gesture of interfaith goodwill, the Udupi Sri Krishna Temple reached out to the Islamic community by organizing an iftar – break-fast meal – for the Muslim community on Saturday, the last day of the holy month of Ramadan, according to media reports.

Around 150 Muslims gathered for the Souharda Upahara Koota (Harmony Break-fast Meeting) at the temple’s Annabrahma Dining Hall. Vishwesha Tirtha Swami of Paryaya Pejawar Mutt presided over the event, The Hindu reported.

They were served a meal of bananas, watermelon, apples, dates and cashew nuts, which they washed down kashaya, a drink made with black pepper, when Ramadan ended at 6:59 pm.

The swami served dates to the Muslim guests and urged the people of Karnataka to live together in peace and harmony. He was quoted as saying, “God is one to all mankind. Hindus and Muslims should live together in harmony. When there was an attempt to gherao [encircle and prevent people from leaving] 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 Muslims offered prayers (namaz) on the second floor of the dining hall building, after breaking the fast, under the guidance of Maulana Innayatullah, imam of Anjuman Masjid.

The initiative was lauded by citizens and politicians across the country.

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