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Musical tribute promotes religious tolerance

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SALT LAKE CITY -- From Dervish dancing to a Scottish pipe band, the 11th annual Interfaith Musical Tribute offered attendees a taste of a wide variety of cultures and religions.

The event was free to the public, and it began Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Tabernacle at Temple Square, 50 North Temple St., Salt Lake City. The annual event is put on by the Interfaith Roundtable, and it began in 2002 on the eve of the Salt Lake City Olympic Games.

Fox 13’s own Nineveh Dinha emceed the event, which included music, prayer, dance and poetry representing different religions.

There were also guest speakers, including Elder Mervyn B. Arnold, who is a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The children’s choir from Sri Gaun-Esh Hindu Temple sang sacred Hindu texts.

Swathy Mahasenan is with the Hindu temple’s choir, and she said they were honored to participate, and she said they worked hard to prepare.

“The kids, they have been practicing and rehearsing for almost two months now in preparation for this, and they are super excited, and so am I, to be part of this,” she said.

Alan Bachman, Interfaith Roundtable, said the group was originally created to meet Olympic needs, but they opted to stay together following the games.

“A chaplain program was required for the Olympics, and so a group of people got together from various faiths, who actually had not gotten together that much before, and then they decided to keep a group going after the Olympics, and it grew into the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable,” he said in an interview on Good Day Utah.

The goal of the event was to create religious tolerance, understanding and respect in Utah.