Here at Cultural Kinetics, I dream of a day when people of the world will accept one another, despite the faith or culture we come from. Whilst in the UK our communities live in relative peace and harmony, there are of course times when extremist views, racism and violence raise their ugly head. It is at times like these when the need for interfaith dialogue is more than ever.
In my work promoting interfaith dialogue and understanding, I often try and speak out against those who preach anti-faith rhetoric and hate. At times, this has put me at odds with others within my own community, because many often feel that as someone not currently practicing any religion, I do not have any “right” in defending the rights of people to live through their faith in peace. However, it is because I expect to be respected and left in peace myself that I expect the same rights for others, and so is why I campaign for tolerance and understanding between people of any background.
So what is interfaith dialogue I hear you ask? It refers to a positive, constructive and cooperative interaction between people of different religious beliefs and backgrounds. Whilst many may think that this is a rare phenomenon, there are in fact many institutional and community organisations across the UK and around the world engaging in this kind of dialogue. Its aim is to increase understanding and respect, rather than set an expectation for people to compromise their beliefs.
It would be foolish to believe that peace is easy to achieve, but it is right that it should be, and is, achievable. When speaking to people of faith about this, I find that my views are increasingly accepted but am still often asked ‘where do I think I came from’ or ‘how did I get here’. When I am asked, I simply reply that what matters to me is that I am here, that we are all here, and so believe that we should all do what we can to treat each other with respect and compassion.
I always have and will strive to help unite communities so that the spirituality of all people can be listened to in an environment that is devoid of dogmatism, disillusionment, oppression or criticism of any kind. Join me on this journey…