Dr Herman Roborgh completed his B.A. degree at Monash University in Melbourne before moving to Indonesia where he worked for many years as a chaplain to students. After completing a Master of Arts in Islamic Studies at Birmingham University, he moved to Lahore in Pakistan where he learnt Urdu and Arabic and set up an interfaith library. He received his PhD from Aligarh Muslim University in India after submitting a thesis on an Urdu commentary on the Qur’an. 

 

With the human condition of growing concern 

You are wisely encouraging us all to learn

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From each other’s beliefs and cultures, so

We shall be open- minded wherever we go. 

Your scholarly insights help achieve this

By reducing suspicion and prejudice. 

With interfaith harmony your constant goal,

You draw many together soul-to-soul.

Since dialogue fosters understanding,

You strive daily for this not withstanding

Constant challenging issues confronting you, 

You’re profoundly respected for all you do, 

For by serving mankind with love and persistence 

You guide us towards a harmonious existence; 

Involved in discourse we shall surely be

Enriched by each faith and philosophy.

So by urging constant communication 

– You are helping prevent violent confrontation. 

You wisely suggest we communicate

With the Taliban and thus perhaps terminate 

The tragic carnage occurring each day, 

– Yes, discussion is surely the wisest way. 

During Midsummer here we celebrate

The birth of One millions venerate. 

You know He would spiritually embrace

Human beings, regardless of faith or race,

Showing unconditional love for others

By caring for all as sisters and brothers.

As blood from His nail-pierced feet and hands

Flowed down from the Cross on to dry desert sands 

He prayed, ‘Forgive them for they know not what they do,’ 

– If mercilessly harmed I believe you would too. 

With compassion, wisdom and humility,

Building spiritual bridges constantly,

You’re healing the deep wounds of humanity. 

For you urge members of our human family 

Using dialogue to create true empathy. 

– So you bring mutual respect and thus harmony. 

All those aware of what you write and say, 

Agree you’re a true force for goodness each day. 

So I pray we shall all serve with love one another

– And treat everyone as our sister or brother.