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News: Peace Building News
Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time
Interfaith Event Builds Foundations for Peace
Surrey, BC -- A "Building Peace in Our Time" community event took place on Sunday, April 3 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Holland Park. The purpose of the event was to bring together generations of people from different faiths to create a dialogue to promote peace and understanding in a world faced with extremism and violence. Participants included: The Honorable Peter Fassbender (BC Liberal Minister of Community, Sports and Cultural Development), United Church of Langley, Surrey Interfaith Council, Vice-Consulate General of Pakistan, Pakistani Canadian Cultural Association, Maulana Naumani (a prominent Muslim scholar), Mawaddah, Friends of Allah Mosque, White Rock Muslim Association, and the Baha'i Community.
As a foundation advocating for children and families everywhere, the Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation condemns violence against children and their families regardless of the form it takes. We call everyone to help end violence, especially when it threatens the lives of children and their families. As a community, we should strive to create a space for children to live that is safe, tolerant, and compassionate. Acts of violence threaten us all, even when directed at specific groups.
David Dalley, who helped organize the event, reflected on why he chose to lend a hand: "The purpose of the event was to communicate a universal goal that our local communities are united in promoting interfaith dialogue and co-operation to end politically and religiously motivated violence, and to create cultures of peace, respect, understanding, and healing for all living beings on earth."
Our sincere hope is to protect and help our communities cope and build resilience in a rapidly changing world characterized with high levels of extremism. We feel that no one has the right to take away a person's spiritual free will and self-determination, nor their underlying strength, and we are doing everything within our power to fight for peace and condemn these horrific attacks. We need to be engaged in a process of healing that is collaborative, enhancing, inclusive, practical, pro-active and responsible. The children and youth worked diligently to help protect, organize, and participate in a giving and caring interfaith, community event.
Both Honorable Minister Peter Fassbender and Sikandar Hayat (President, BC Liberals Surrey-Newton Riding Association), condemned terrorism, and assured the BC government's support of such causes. They made it clear that, "Any savage attacks on innocent civilians, whether they occur in Syria, Paris, Beirut, Brussels, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, U.S.A. or in any other city or country, are heinous and without justification. We stand in solidarity and condemn these demonic, horrific acts in the strongest terms possible. Today, our thoughts are with the loved ones of those killed and injured."
"People of faith across the globe must realign themselves by bringing religion back to its purpose, namely; to inculcate noble character and live an ethical life of service and devotion. In doing so, extremism and tribalism would find no validation among spiritual wayfarers of every religion," said Jamil Popatia, a faith-based family relations mediator and counsellor.
"In the midst of a world impacted by violence, those who want to create a society of love and justice must stand together. These violent attacks are meant to divide us, but with love and justice as our common foundation, our differences can be recognized as gifts rather than threats, and those different from us as friends rather than enemies," says Scott Reynolds, an event organizer and Minister of Youth and Young adults from the United Church of Langley, Canada.
"The event was organized through the Amazing Tutors' Children's Foundation. We are grateful for everyone's support and encouragement in helping us build peace together. We seek to build communities by supporting youth and children through educational and volunteer opportunities in Surrey, BC. We involve our students and tutors in various programs, such as the leadership youth development program. We need more people to join us. For more information about this event, and others, through Amazing Tutors' Children's Foundation, see our website.
- Curtis Humes, Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation
Facing Global Extremism Together
Teaching young people about tolerance and tackling prejudice can inoculate our society against extremism. We have to deal with the ideology of extremism and not just the consequences to ensure the next generation will be free of its ideology. During a time of fear, oppression and sorrow, it is imperative that we educate and speak up against extremism and racism. Hate is more than an emotion. Feelings of hate towards someone of a different religion, race, or color, may manifest into acts of hostility, intimidation or violence against innocent people for simply being who they are. These acts have the potential to cause harm to children and their families, individuals or groups.
A prominent example of extremism and a hateful ideology is racism or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior. While hate-motivated acts are often associated with organized extremist groups of the 1900's as exemplified in the religiously and politically motivated violent genocides of World War I and II, most hate acts are carried out by individuals not associated with such groups. Tribalism and ethnic cleansing was the obsessive axis in the genocides of Rwanda and Myanmar. Today, some opportunistic politicians use anti-immigrant rhetoric and scapegoating of minorities as a way of getting votes, cultivating hate and fueling the global movement.
Canadian values and laws are in place to protect citizens against the influence of harmful movements such as extremism. Indeed democracy by definition, defies the idea that one race in inherently superior to another. Thus, global extremist use demonic, heinous actions and threats to influence the government to force a change by eliminating innocent citizens. Its purpose is to advance a religious, political or ideological change. These tactics include campaigning in the mainstream, political and social media platforms and/or using violence and terrorism and require organized efforts achieved through rigorous recruitment. They do this to demonstrate strength, support members and potential recruits, and strike a high level of fear in their targeted groups whether they are religious minorities, a different color, mentally and physically disabled. By intimidating and terrorizing people of color, religious minorities, they aim to prevent them from being full and active citizens.
Tackling extremism and promoting respect for different view should be seen as a global obligation to help our children and youth learn to carry compassion, love, mercy and respect to humanity with the understanding that humanity is one family. Despite a myriad of our multicultural policies, human rights codes and hate crime provisions, bigotry and hate have not disappeared --extremism is globally on the rise. We must help our young people, who may be drawn to extremist groups to break free from fear, isolation and loneliness, and to gain a sense of acceptance, belonging, identity and purpose. Some of these extremist groups, from across the globe, have morphed to better fit with the political and legal climate of our times. By changing its own image, strategies and some of its messages, they attempt to attract mainstream and new followers by encouraging their members to join the law, military and political arena. Some groups continue to commit acts of violence against minorities, while others have discovered new ways to preach, spread their hatred through the internet and avoid legal punishment.
We have a tradition of resisting hate in Canada that must continue to be upheld. There is no single way to eliminate extremism, hate, and racism; however, compassion, kindness, wisdom and the fruits of the spirit have power to heal and restore hope. We must help our communities cope and build resilience in a rapidly changing world characterized with high levels of extremism. To inoculate our society against extremist movements, we must challenge discrimination and set the tone for resisting more violent forms of racism and extremism by responding to all forms of bigotry, and not simply those committed by organized hate groups. We must educate our children to understand that humanity is from one family and to carry compassion, love, mercy and respect to humanity. Ultimately, effective and lasting responses to bigotry involve a broad cross-section of society. We urge our government to use a greater share of counter-extremism expenditure to invest in the future of our education systems and young people.
Communities that are victimized by extremism, hate-motivated violence or hate promotion can respond by:
A Prayer from our Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation
We pray to God, the fountainhead of compassion, grace and mercy to help us communicate a universal message that we are all united in promoting interfaith dialogue and co-operation, to end politically and religiously motivated violence, and to create cultures of peace, respect, understanding and healing for all living beings on earth. We believe that no one has the right to take away another person's spiritual free will and self-determination, nor their alexandrite of underlying spiritual strength. We pray for the pristine unity of mankind as the oneness of God is the oneness of man. And as our brothers, sisters and their children take their journey to return to compassion, grace, fortitude and mercy --we never forget to be the best human being that we can. We are reminded to hold on to our blue sapphire of patience, which allows us to cope with worldly difficulties. We are blessed to own our green emerald of compassion, which directs us to be sensibly close and kind to others. We express our gratitude for having our amethyst of kindness which lifts our doling hand to be the first to give and help those in need. We thank God for giving us a sparkling diamond of vision, which guides us to make sense and order out of this world of toil. With these thoughts, we pray to God to protect our communities and lead the way and provide further guidance.
- Amazing Tutors Children's Foundation
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