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UPF-Canada Marks United Nations Day by Honoring Interfaith Practitioners

Canada-2020-10-19-UPF-Canada Marks United Nations Day by Honoring Interfaith Practitioners

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Montréal, Canada—In conjunction with United Nations Day 2020, 40 people responded to UPF-Quebec’s invitation to a webinar on “The Role of Interfaith Practitioners in Building Lasting Peace” on Monday, October 19, 2020.

A Muslim–Christian couple from Nigeria started the program by testifying to the challenges and rewards of their interfaith marriage. Coming from two tribes and two religions, their union was completely rejected by both families and both communities. After many years of their living harmoniously, however, their families finally gave their approval, opening the way for others of their communities to follow. The husband, Emmanuel, concluded by saying that such interreligious unions should be promoted as a means of bringing lasting peace to the world.

All panelists highlighted the key role that interfaith dialogue and relations play or ought to play in the field of social and economic development at the tribal, community, national and international levels.

Frédéric Dejean (Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Université de Québec à Montréal) drew on the example of a study of the role played by religious groups in the integration of new immigrants. He clarified how interfaith groups affect community development: They promote the transmission of good practices; they are a place of trusted listening; they can confidently support new immigrants in their civic participation.

Robert Duffy, secretary general of UPF-Canada, reviewed UPF’s basic principles and spoke of the role that faith as, plays as the social-level base on which we can collaboratively respond to the problems of the world. This is because faith is the fulcrum on which divine purpose and celestial character develop. The hardest part is transcending personal identity to embrace an identity as a citizen of the world.

Jean-Marconel Dutervil (Pastor, Evangelical Sinai Baptist Church; Representative, Council of Religious Leaders of Montreal-North) took up the idea of the important social role that communities of faith play when they unite by putting all "isms" aside and placing the work of God in the center. He emphasized the need for dialogue. He also addressed the challenges faced by interfaith couples, emphasizing the valuable role they play in building peace and stressing their need for support.

It was Ms. Souad Zabouj, married with four children, supervisor in the school system, and a practicing Muslim, who closed the loop. She noted that there are interreligious couples and much interfaith interaction within the community. She invited everyone to work on themselves and to approach others without prejudice. She recalled that all religions are based on the same values of peace, love, compassion, and forgiveness. Peace is built over the years with perseverance and self-improvement.

Her husband, Hassan, added that we should all take the Hippocratic Oath: Humanity comes before religion.

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