The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

Youth Bridging Religious Differences 29 May , 2012

On May 26, 2012 Interfaith Youth in Action (IYA) / World Faith Pakistan (WFP) and the Youth Development Foundation organized a bus tour visiting places of worship in Lahore. 58 young people from the country’s different faiths groups participated in the tour which aimed at advancing interfaith relations and cooperation. The bus tour is a practical tool to foster interfaith understanding among religiously-diverse youth which is a determinant for peace and development in Pakistan.

The tour provided a unique experience and opportunity to visit different places of worship and to learn more about the beliefs, practices, and customs of the local faith traditions. The group visited a church, a mosque, a Baha’i temple, a Hindu Mandir, and a Sikh Gurdwara.

The youth of each community welcomed the participants and the religious leaders briefed them on their faith traditions, their history and conflict situations. Following this, the participants had the opportunity to ask additional questions in a Q & A session.

Anila Noor, Participant: Through this event I made friends with people from the Christian, Hindu, and Sikh community which never happened in my life before. Through these friendships we will contribute to build bridges between Pakistan’s different religious groups and we will try to inspire others to engage in interfaith activities.

Shahid Ghouri, Founding President of IYA/WFP: Through this event we provided a safe space for religiously-diverse youth to share information about their own faith and to learn more about other faith traditions. This is an important step to reduce common religious misconceptions and to advance interfaith relationships.

Fr. Ashraf Gill, Catholic Youth Director: The youth should get the chance to solve continuing interfaith differences by engaging in implementable interfaith activities, rather than interfaith seminaries or conferences which take place in an artificial environments, and which turned out to be of little efficiency in the Pakistani context.

At the end of the day all participants had the chance to share their feelings with the group and to explain what they have learned during the day. They were encouraged to make recommendations for future interfaith dialogue.

Recommendations:

  1. Young people should get a better chance to use their potentials and their creative ideas for interfaith dialogue and ecumenism. (Christian participants)
  2. Religious leaders should better include youth to solve ongoing religious gaps to promote peace and development in Pakistan. (Muslim & Hindu participants)
  3. Interfaith groups should be introduced in every educational institution in order to educate, interact, and to develop relations among religiously-diverse youth. (All participants)

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Facets of Faith for June 11, 2011 13 June , 2011

The Baton Rouge Baha’i community says it is hosting a “weekend dedicated to enjoying the diversity in our community and focusing on the benefits of unity” in conjunction with Race Unity Day.

The events include a movie night, an interfaith service and a picnic.

Patrick Garrett, one of the event planners, said, “Racial unity is a part of what we do year round. We work with the Interfaith Federation and many of their activities. In January we  celebrated World Religion Day.”

That committment to spiritual and racial unity starts with the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’i, the governing body of the Baha’is of the United States, which issued a 1991 statement that started, “Racism is the most challenging issue confronting America. A nation whose ancestry includes every people on earth, whose motto is E pluribus unum, whose ideals of freedom under law have inspired millions throughout the world, cannot continue to harbor prejudice against any racial or ethnic group without betraying itself.”

The Associated Press Stylebook describes the Baha’i as “A monotheistic religion founded in the 1860s by Baha’u’llah, a Persian nobleman considered a prophet by the Baha’is.

“Baha’u’llah taught that all religions represent progressive stages in the revelation of God’s will, leading to the unity of all people and faiths.”

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Interfaith Cultural Celebration in Sydney 7 April , 2011

The Chapel by the Sea Uniting Church, Bondi Beach will be the venue for a unique cultural celebration of differing faiths, Saturday 16th April. Four different faiths will be represented, Hinduism, Islam, Baha’i and Australian Aboriginal. The Chapel minister the Rev John Queripel commented, ‘this is the first of these events where the idea is to take different faiths and allow people to experience their cultural expressions, through music, song, dance or chant. While it is easy enough to read of different faiths it is not often that people have the opportunity to experience the expression of those faiths. Of course most of these faiths are so wide ranging that we can only touch one part of them, but with future celebrations we will come back to them and touch other parts of their diversity’

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