Amongst the disarray occurring across the globe we are trying hard to bring Muslim scholars and religious leaders from around the world to show a united front and to show that we can work together in peace and harmony. Dr Hans Kung a Professor of Ecumenical Theology and President of Global Ethnics Foundation has said “There will be no peace amongst the nations without first peace among the religions. There will be no peace among the religions without dialogue between the religions”.
Religion is frequently cited as a cause of violent conflict, yet dialogue between faith communities often reveals that religion is not a primary source of tension. Instead working together to find peace-making techniques can be invaluable in promoting understanding and reconciliation.
Our intention is not to convert people or to force them to accept what we say or believe as this is not the focus of our interfaith dialogue. Instead we want to achieve the following benefits through interfaith dialogue:
Improve the understanding of the “other” faiths
Books can be a very good source of information to improve on one’s knowledge but this does not compare to the one-to-one interaction with practicing people. When you meet and talk to people this allows you to learn what they believe in and how they practice their faith. This then gives all groups of faith fresh perspective and increases their knowledge and understanding of other religions.
We want to bridge the gap between Muslims, Jews and Christians as often interfaith interaction is very limited to the people that you would meet at work or outside and with them it is not possible to discuss your religion in depth, to explain why you practice it and portray how you feel about your religion. With our interfaith interaction we want to reach out to Jews & Christians and help them understand we are as Muslims sympathetic and intelligent people, and are able to discuss other religions whilst being comfortable and secure in our own religion and in turn Jews and Christians have the opportunity to do the same.
Learn about other religions and our own
Most importantly, whilst we are promoting and developing the process of understanding other religions, it is very beneficial for us as within our individual religion we are researching and learning more about our own religion and ensuring that we are able to get across information that is backed accurately. After all you never stop learning!
Learning about and visiting other faith groups
To visit places of worship that matter to other faiths and to ensure before visiting that rules of etiquettes are known. These may include whether or not to remove shoes, whether to cover your head, how to sit when facing sacred objects, how to greet a member of the opposite sex, whether respectful titles and terminology are used when referring to holy figures or sacred texts. Be respectful if someone is praying or reading and ask questions to learn more about it.
Our objectives for the coming year via interfaith dialogues is:
- Become a role model of how different faiths can interact and live together.
- Help to develop understanding of different faiths and develop a community.
- Explore and learn about each other and our traditions.
- Share knowledge & insight.
- Address common issues and encourage common projects amongst the different faith groups.
- Set up monthly meetings to ensure above is covered and constantly improve on it and ensure that we inform the wider community of our commitment to each other.
In conclusion we want to via our interfaith dialogue build a community that is able to express its views and discuss each other’s religion freely and to learn from each other. These will then be the building steps in peace and love amongst society as well as tolerance and respect for each other’s religion.