Uniting Faiths in a Dialogue of Peace

Published: April 28th 2010
in News » Local

Mubarak Nazir (Missionary in Charge of Canada, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at), Nora Sanders (General Secretary, United Church of Canada), Dr. Victor Goldbloom (Senior Interfaith Representative (CJC)
Pic: CJC

On April 25th 2010 the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) held their annual general meeting as well as an interfaith panel discussion. The Interfaith panel discussion contained the former chairman and Senior Interfaith representative of the CJC, Dr. Victor Goldbloom, the General Secretary of the United Church, Nora Saunders, as well as the Missionary Incharge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mubarak A. Nazir.  Approximately 100 people attended, some with questions to the panel members which were addressed in a Q&A session that followed.


According to Goldbloom, the goal of the interfaith panel discussion was to gain “virtually unanimous solidarity and its concerns for safety.” In an interview with Shalom Life, Goldbloom believed the interfaith discussion was a positive one and went well overall.


The members of the panel discussion all expressed the commonalities between the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths and all stressed the importance of that recognition. The panel discussion contained references to the Quran and the Talmud in an attempt to show their similarities. In Saunders portion of the discussion, she describes how conflict is a result of the lack of knowledge of the opposing side involved. In her speech she describes a Palestinian youth who describes their first encounter with an Israeli to be an encounter with an Israeli soldier. Similarly, she mentions how an Israeli youth may only meet a Palestinian for the first time while enlisted in the army. Saunders described this to be the reason for a lack of understanding between the future generations involved in the Middle Eastern conflict.


In combination with the discussion’s theme of commonality amongst the religious faiths represented, the discussion also surfaced the importance of ongoing dialogue regarding the Middle East conflict. The significance of dialogue is reminiscent to a statement CJC issued in February as a response to a meeting held which addressed the former tension between the CJC and the UCC. The tension between both major faith organizations was a result of the UCC’s links to an organization called Independent Jewish Voices; an organization highly critical of Israel. Following the statement which expressed the resolution of the issue, Saunders stated “We have a longstanding relationship with Canadian Jewish Congress and see it as the place for dialogue.”


In Goldbloom’s portion of the panel discussion, he distinguished between two dialogues and explained what sort of dialogue is required in order to truly attain peace. He mentions “people will bring forward statements contributing towards peace …I say very personally I find those points of view to be unrealistic.” Goldbloom hopes to attain a progressive realistic sort of dialogue among the two other faiths one that concerns itself with the future as opposed to present issues. This he believes is the sort of dialogue that realistically concerns itself with peace and adds “I am reaching out the hand for that other dialogue to actually take place.”


The interfaith panel members seemed to reach the consensus that dialogue is paramount to the attainment of peace and common respect amongst faiths of which share commonalities all too frequently ignored.

Related articles: (CJC, interfaith, United Church, Nora Saunders, Mubarak Nazir, Ahmadiyya, Victor Goldbloom)

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