An interfaith conference held in Calgary on Sunday is trying to build peace and harmony between different religious communities in the city.
The Voices for Peace Conference, held at Baitun Nur Mosque in northeast Calgary, aimed to bring together various religious communities. According to the event page, representatives from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindi, Sikh and Muslim community groups presented their visions of peace and prosperity at the conference.
“Every religion is teaching us peace and harmony … Every year we host dozens of similar events, but this is very special because of the current situation in the Middle East,” said Majeed Ahmad, president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Calgary.
The event comes after Israel declared war on Hamas on Oct. 7, and the militant group killed an estimated 1,200 Israelis in a surprise attack, taking another 240 people hostage.
Israel declared war on Hamas, began an airstrike campaign and cut off food, fuel, water and supplies to Gaza, which is home to 2.3 million Palestinians. The territory’s Hamas-run health ministry says more than 11,500 people have been killed so far, two-thirds of them women and children, and another 2,700 people are reported missing.
Ahmad told Global News all religions teach their followers to be good people in society and that everyone needs to work together to try and promote goodness.
“We have found that all religions cooperate with each other to find goodness. So our topics are always for the benefit of humanity,” he said. “Everyone will present their own teachings from their religious founder. We are hopeful that this will create a big impact in Calgary and especially for those faiths who are participating.”
Alberta’s Municipal Affairs Minister Rick McIver, who moderated the panel, said the event fosters respectful dialogue between different religious communities in Calgary.
“I think people need to start setting an example of how people from different faiths and other backgrounds can and should get along and work together,” he told Global News.
“Today we’re going to have a respectful dialogue between members of a whole bunch of different faiths and different communities and, I hope, model an example of how people that don’t agree on everything can get along and work together and look for a way to make our city and our province and our country a better place.”
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