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23 June 2012

Canadian Jews greet new friends from Pakistan and Inda, participants discuss the importance of tolerance, mutual respect

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By David Nitkin 

Forty Moslem and Jewish residents of Toronto took part in a very stimulating Dialogue at a local public library recently. This was the third and largest such forum with a noble aim to bring both communities closer to each other.

The two hour meeting involved men and women sitting and chatting in four small working groups. These invited guests were engaged in direct dialogue– getting to know one another. Co-chairs Tariq Khan of Weekly Press Pakistan – Canada and David Nitkin of EthicScan Canada cautioned all present that we each have two ears and one mouth, so that listening was important.

For Jews, it was a chance to meet new friends, remove stereotypes, and learn about the careers of their Moslem brothers, most of whom were from Pakistan and India. The Jews grew to appreciate the difference between Arbi and Admi Moslems, and the positive attitudes of the latter toward Israel. Similarly, for Moslems, it was a chance to meet new friends, and learn that not all Jews were rich or control the media– stereotypes born of ignorance, not hatred. Most Moslems know nothing of the Shoah (the Holocaust) and most Jewish participants were unaware of the horrors in Pakistan/India in 1947. The participants from both sides talked about the importance of tolerance, mutual respect, and education for women, as well as the importance of confronting stereotypes.

“I am glad to be part of another very successful session of Jewish-Muslim Toronto Dialogue. It was very friendly and intellectuals from both sides exchanged their thoughts. We also talked about what one idea/thought each can bring on the table which can help resolve present problem in the world and we can have a true heavenly earth.” One of the meeting participants expressed.

“This is the key thing to meet and exchange our views keeping in mind fixing the Global World as a Global Family and we must keep moving forward and need to be arranged on regular basis to change our world to make a better place to live for all. Also regular reports of these forums must be presented to the media to invite other people of faith to start this type of session as well for the Whole New World of Global Brothers and Global Sisters.” Another participant commented.

The participants ranged from secular to religious in belief, and they explored topics like spirituality, what makes for a good person, and what is necessary for enlightened collaboration between the two religions. The role of rule of law in bringing about positive change was explored, as was the possibility of Canadian Moslems making trips to Jerusalem to learn of their heritage and see the marvels of the State of Israel.

Traditional Moslem food items were served and complimented the lively discussion.

[Report sent by Irshad Mahmood, Director Interfaith, Christian-Muslim Forum of Canada. Email: christian-muslim-forum-canada@googlegroups.com]

1 comment:

  1. Daniel Moshe Johnson

    Good day.

    I had the opportunity to attend this dialogue, and I would like to commend the organizers, Prof. Nitkin and others.

    We had circles of several groups sitting and talking like we should be, after all, we share this sovereign space with many nationalities, but only a few have issues that can be seen and heard world wide.

    As a Jew from New Orleans, I was not really subject to much ethnocentrism, as Jews and non-radical Muslims face here in Toronto. We live in a special place and time, and it's important to have sit downs and open discussion.

    It is important that individuals stand up and denounce evil and hate no matter where it lies. If hate is a part of anything, it is through forums such as this, that we can encourage individuals to stand up against hate, whether it is in a passage, community or organization.

    I will attend again, and I encourage Muslims, Hindus, Zoarastians, Buddhist, Krishna's, Catholics, Jews, atheist, feminist, Gays, lesbian's, anyone that wants to share a positive solution to what I term as adult bullying in the modern day.

    ReplyDelete