By Victor Edwin SJ, New Age Islam
14 December, 2014
On 13 December 2014, 23 youth from diverse faith traditions (13 Muslims, 7 Hindus and three Christians) participated in an interfaith youth weekend jointly organized by Interfaith Coalition for Peace, Zakat Foundation, Henry Martyn Institute: An International Center for Research, Interfaith Relations and Reconciliation and Islamic Studies Association at Navinta, the Delhi Archdiocesan Retreat Centre. Ms Marina D’ Costa and Mr Deepak Raj from Mumbai and Chennai respectively conducted the program. Prof Deepali Bhanot Mr Ghulam Rasool and Victor Edwin SJ worked with the core team in organizing the program.
Through discussion, sharing and presentations the participants emphasized that India is Salad bowl and diversity marks her uniqueness and enhances her beauty. Diversity is clearly a part of God’s design and purpose for our universe and for us humans. India has the unique distinction of having had the experience of diversity of cultures and religions for several thousand years. It has led to opening many new doors and creating many opportunities for new and beautiful ways of integration and mutual enrichment. It has also created at times conflicts and confrontations which have created often an ugly and painful world and people.
They asked within one’s own heart and asked one another, who will contribute to recreate God’s beautiful world? They felt that it is we humans who have the endowments given to us to create a new world, a new people. “We need to have the awareness to know and understand where we are” affirmed one of the participants. They clearly noted that they have also the power to choose. “We can make wise and appropriate decisions that will make a difference to today’s world conditions and replace it with a new climate and relationships", they said. They observed that they realize that it is not an easy goal to achieve, but it is possible if we multiply our human capital, increase our social capital and create networks and bonding and thus evolve a new way of being human.
They also affirmed the critical importance of the universal and inviolable rights and duties of the human person including the right to worship according to one's conscience in order to establish peace among peoples. They stressed that they realize that human rights as the substance of peaceful world order. They noted that peace consists in the promotion, safeguarding and defense of human rights at every level of social life, whether interpersonal, social, political, international, or global. They resolved to work, with all people of good will, for peace and justice in the world.