A unique Interfaith Symposium held by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Association Edmonton, Canada
It is hard to believe that faith can provide solutions to the bullying crisis we face today. However, the guest speakers at the 16th annual interfaith symposium held by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Association Edmonton demonstrated that faith can be a source of comfort for the victim of bullying and a voice of accountability to the bully. This unique event had people of different faiths, ideas and backgrounds come together to promote faith based approaches to an unfortunate everyday occurrence, bullying.
Dr. Doris Kieser outlined one of the main ethical teachings of the Abrahamic faiths, “love thy neighbour as thyself”. She beautifully emphasized that the starting point is with each of us to respond to someone who is different, as a neighbour with love.
Mrs. Indira Saroya representing Hinduism, said “bullying is as old as the history of mankind” and shared the beautiful benefits of yoga. Yoga is not only physical, but also teaches self-discipline, respect, care and acceptance.
Mrs. Dorit Kosmin representing Judaism expressed that “all people are created in the image of God” and therefore “everyone is holy and has value and so we should care for everyone and not just our neighbour”. She beautifully elaborated that “we should celebrate each other’s individuality”.
Mrs. Maryam Seagar representing Islam emphasized that it is our “religious responsibility to condemn all sorts of bullying”. She helped bring awareness to the startling statistics which suggest that 83% of bullying happens in front of others; while only 13% of bystanders intervene. She also beautifully explained that the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) teach us to respect diversity and love humanity. The Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) in his final sermon said “O people! Verily, your Lord is one and your father is one. There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab and for a non-Arab over an Arab; nor for red over the black nor for the black over the red except in piety. Verily, the noblest among you is he who is the most pious.” Each representative enlightened the womenfolk with valuable insights into helping combat bullying in our communities.
The message for mutual respect for each other’s individuality by each faith proves that differences do not separate us; instead they can unite us for a common good. The key is not to see which solution is the best, but to utilize the good in all that each has to offer, and embrace it in our day to day existence. Not doing anything is as bad as committing the wrongful act; therefore, let us commit to our words and be that change towards a bully free society.
It is important to combat bullying because our youth will be the leaders of tomorrow and it is imperative that we mentor them and involve them today. This empowerment and responsibility provides them with the strength and positive self-esteem to overcome bullying and speak out against injustice. We need strong leaders for tomorrow, with morals and values, and that can only be done by supporting the youth of today, by making them realize that they are of significant worth to us.
I am humbly grateful to all the participants who are committed to ending this devastating cycle of bullying, may God bless you all! (Amen).
Reference: The Asian Times