Interfaith activity can be seen as a major component in and contributor to promoting peace and co-existence between people and communities of faith. This has always been the case and people from a wide variety of countries and conflicts have used interfaith dialogue and action as a medium for more harmonious co-existence. The tragic events of September 11th 2001 and the sorrow of the Afghan people in the war that followed made the significance of interfaith activity clearer to many more people.
The network of international interfaith organisations issued this joint statement:
In response to recent tragic events in the United States of America and ongoing conflicts with religious dimensions around the world, our international interfaith organizations offer our inter-religious dialogue expertise and resources to address the current crisis and promote peace building initiatives.
We have direct experience of bringing into peaceful and constructive dialogue the mainstream and marginalised, moderate and militant religious voices of our world.
Working with the world’s faith communities, we have found that inter-religious dialogue can help heal wounds by feelings of injustice, isolation, and inequality.
Our international interfaith organisations with their global outreach and networks offer peaceful alternatives to war. (Read more)
Interfaith activity then can help:
- to eliminate ignorance and reduce stereotyping and prejudice about particular religions and religious communities
- to lay firm foundations to overcome differences or to meet common goals at local and national levels by building confidence and trust through rational dialogue and co-operative action
- to link relevant religious and multinational organisations to mitigate against terrorist responses to situations by :
– improving communication
– facilitating dialogue and deep listening
– addressing together perceived injustices
– understanding or respecting different value systems and learning about them.
The overview of interfaith activity offered in Introduction to Interfaith shows you some of the various
- responses to religious pluralism
- challenges of living in multi-religious, multi-cultural societies
- motives for using interfaith dialogue and encounter to meet these challenges.
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Identifying the religious communities and interfaith activity where you are:
a) Find out if there is any interfaith organisation or group already active in your area.
b) Map out the different religious groups in your area
c) Reflect on the issues that might bring people of different faiths together where you live
d) Reflect on how any of the organisations you might have read about might support ideas you have for interfaith activity or how your ideas might support them