What a joy it was to see the God-given human balance restored at the Parliament of World’s Religions, held in USA in October 2015. Over 50% of the participants were women, and nearly 30% of attendees were youth.
By Mike Ghouse
Congratulations to the Chairman, Trustees, Board members, staff, volunteers, presenters and attendees of the Parliament of World’s Religions! The successful event was held in Salt Lake City, USA, from October 15 through October 19, 2015. Each day started at 7 AM and ended at about 11:30 PM, every minute was counted in the five days of learning and sharing. Euphoric is the best word to describe the feeling one had every moment of the day. Where else can you learn so much about a religion, particularly other’s religion? I sincerely hope this was a myth-busting event.
Nearly 10,000 people representing over 200 faith traditions attended the event. Our special thanks to the Sikh community for the langar (serving lunch) to the attendees for five days in a row. I met and talked with the people who drove the 18 wheeler from California loaded with food supplies and a whole team of people descended into Salt Lake City and prepared the food along with the volunteers at the Sikh Gurdwara.
What a joy it was to see the God-given human balance restored at the event! Over 50% of the participants were women, and nearly 30% of attendees were youth and 60% of the comperes were women again. Finally, the right thing has happened! Now, humanity can hope for a better world with women’s merciful and kind hearts overlooking the affairs of religion.
The 5,200 some members who attended the packed house went home knowing that happiness is in being one, and being with every one without bias. Every faith tradition presented its prayers and songs, what a beautiful thing it was to witness! Imagine the kind of beautiful future those kids will have”knowing and respecting each other as one day when they are adults, they will work, eat, play, travel and marry each other with least conflicts.
It was one of the most uplifting programs I have attended; it gave a lot of hope to the people who are concerned about the ongoing conflicts, every one, I believe walked out hopeful knowing fully well that the 10,000 who attended will carry the good word to all corners of the world. As a Muslim and a pluralist, I believe, if we can learn to respect the otherness of others and accept the God-given uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. So what is that we need to do?
First thing first, go to: http://www.parliamentofreligions.org/ and become a member of the Parliament of Religions.
Second thing is to reiterate your own commitment to do good, including, but not limited to speaking up against injustice, and to appropriately interrupt spreading of misunderstandings about any one.
Third, gather up the courage to say, “My faith is beautiful to me, as yours is beautiful to you, and I will not claim that my faith is superior to any, because it amounts to arrogance, which goes against the very teachings of my (everyone’s) faith to be humble. Arrogance gives birth to conflicts, and humility builds bridges and harmony among people.” Peace and harmony are the ultimate goal of all religions. Are you with me?
Wherever you go, be the peace maker. Ask yourselves, are my words mitigating the conflicts and nurturing goodwill?
By the way, the action of “mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill” can be found in all religious traditions.
Remember, my peace and security hinges on the peace and security of others around me, if they are not secure, I won’t be either. It is in my interest to work for peace.
The future of societies rests on our attitudes of pluralism, respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each one of us.
(The writer is a social scientist, thinker, writer and a speaker on Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, politics, human rights, foreign policy and building cohesive societies)