A leading Muslim philanthropist in Pakistan has described Mother Teresa as "a great social worker who dedicated her whole life to the service of humanity".Teresa did her work without any distinction of caste or religion, said Faisal Edhi, in a message on the occasion of Mother Teresa's canonization as Saint Teresa on Sunday. "Her canonization will immortalize her service for the poorest of the poor," the Catholic News Agency quoted him as saying. Faisal Edhi's late father, Abdul Sattar Edhi, was one of the best known philanthropists in Pakistan. Often called the "Father Teresa of Pakistan", the senior Edhi passed away on July 8 at the age of 88.The late Edhi's first free medical clinic has today turned into a large foundation, the "Edhi Foundation", that is home to some 5,700 people in 17 residential institutions. It organises 1,500 ambulances.People like Mother Teresa, Faisal Edhi said, help create a good environment that can assist "in ending rivalries between nations and communities".Faisal Edhi recalled how his father frequently spoke of Mother Teresa and her work, saying Muslims must learn from her example and service to others.
He noted how both his father and Mother Teresa lived during the same period and how both had been criticized by "religious hardliners" who "claimed conversions", perhaps because "they had no other argument"."Only missionary spirit can help them in working for the welfare of others and understanding their sufferings," he said.Faisal Edhi recalled how his father always admired the Catholic nuns who ran two centres for the disabled in Karachi and "kept close relations with missionaries and used to send me to there".He said the Edhi family continues to support the centres and each day sends five kg of mutton to Dar ul Sukun, the largest Church-run centre for the mentally and physically disabled in Karachi.Faisal Edhi said in his letter that his father had "trained me to do what Mother Teresa did", and voiced his hope that he would be able to serve the poor as she did. "As a Muslim social worker in Pakistan, I thanks Missionaries for their kindness and establishment centres that work without any discrimination in our third world country," he said."There is no other example of the ways in which they help the disabled, especially handicapped children."Much work needs to be done and we need more people like Mother Teresa," he added.