Terrorism, Radicalization of Youth, Misrepresentation of Religion

by Arliene Botnick, March 2, 2015

These are all topics that have been discussed at ICP – Interfaith Council of Peel. Representatives from the various Peel communities attend these meetings (and I represent Solel), trying to find common ground on which to live at peace and in harmony with one another.

We do not discuss foreign affairs, or the “larger” world picture, but we do discuss the challenges of the multi-faith Peel community. In these discussions, there is not always consensus; for example, there are very diverse opinions about the Ontario Government’s Sex Education curriculum. But, what there always is at our meetings is respect, willingness to hear each other out, and often we do agree to disagree.

What these meetings show is that there is more than a willingness from all in attendance to make compromises where possible, to talk things out, and to understand where each group is coming from.

We share information about our faith, we answer one another’s questions, we learn that there is often more that we share than where we differ.

We talk about the sad reality of needing extra security at our places of worship, about the bully-ing and inappropriate language that hurts our children at school. One Muslim representative (mother) told us about her lovely young daughter being mercilessly teased about wearing a hijab. Our representative from the Greek Orthodox Church talked about the extra vigilance needed right here, in our community, because of events abroad. Our B’hai group is in pain over persecution of their families in Iran. And, needless to say, I share our challenges, our concerns, our pain.

ICP is working to create a community that is cohesive while still respecting one another’s differences. We are getting a speaker to allay fears about the sex education curriculum coming into the schools, we are offering to go and speak at school to explain religious head coverings, difference rituals and customs.

I want to believe that Shalom – peace, completeness – is possible. We are a people of hope. We are a people who will not give up!

Terrorism, Radicalization, Misrepresentation of Religion can only be overcome by people coming together and speaking out. Interfaith Council of Peel is a beginning, but each one of us must speak out against hatred, bigotry, violence. Our voices have to be heard. – Keyn y’hee ratzon – May it be God’s will.


Filed under: Educator's Message

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