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October 30, 2011

Re: Harper's Office of Religious Freedom

Roman Mukerjee

In response to the article on Harper's Office of Religious Freedom, I wish to indicate that those of us in joint Hindu-Christian faith like me, that was inherited from my parents interfaith marriage, are completely ignored by Hon John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs Office where the issue of religious freedom is to be addressed.

I sent my detailed package and a polite request to be consulted, as we in joint faith are very sensitive to acts of religious exclusion or persecution. I have not received even a polite confirmation of receipt.

In my path of the Hindu-Christian joint faith, I was constantly pressured by the Catholic faith leadership to completely convert to Christianity, the "true path". I was openly told by Catholic leaders that Hinduism was a faith of "many gods" and that the enlightened truth came from Christianity. Fortunately my dear parents were tolerant and accommodating that I let the two faiths influence me, especially during my formative young years.

I am now married to a Jew and our marriage was readily accepted and religiously performed in the Hindu temple, to be officially inscribed.

Persons who are like us in a multi-faith stance should be given a hearing in the establishment of the Religious Freedom Office to gain a unique perspective. By definition, we in joint faith have to be fine tuned to respect the diverse faiths that are openly in full practice wherever these may be.

My origins are from primarily Hindu India where all faiths are welcome, as clearly manifest by providing full place to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in India. Here in multicultural Canada, it is most revealing that the Muslim, Tibetan Buddhist, the Sikh and Reform Jewish have fully accepted me in my joint faith which I have openly shared with these communities. This is most encouraging towards full faith.


Roman Mukerjee

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Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University and the author of several books focussing on the Middle East including 'The Hundred Years' War On Palestine'. He explains some of the basic facts of the struggle for Palestinian independence and the creation of the Zionist project of Israel.

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