The United Church, Interfaith Relations, and Islamophobia – March 19 Global Gossip
Gail Allan gave a presentation in her role as the Coordinator, Ecumenical, Interchurch, and Interfaith Relations for the United Church.
She made the following points:
- there is a movement of inter-faith work that endeavours to present alternative visions which are vital to actively resisting current thinking
- local interfaith relations are key
- there are several documents that guide U.C in dialogue
- g. Mending The World, which commits U.C to do all its work through a multi-faith lens, Bearing Faithful Witness (Christian/Jewish relations), That We May Know Each Other (Christian/Muslim relations), Honouring the Divine in Each Other (Christian/Hindu relations)
- Several organizations were mentioned as points of connection, dialogue, and inter-faith justice work
- Gail drew our attention to specific organizations that we might want to keep in touch with who hold events and that would be informative and a way of making contact with inter-faith groups, e.g. National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Noor Centre, Intercultural Dialogue Institute (IDI), Multi-faith Centre at U of T.
- Inter-faith work can be seen as concentric circles: local – national – global
What Can We Do
During our discussion some of the following ideas were suggested:
- keep aware of the U.C website “Take Action” section which guides members in contacting politicians regarding issues such as increasing refugee sponsorships and ending the safe third country agreement.
- Participating in webinars such as the one recently held on Welcoming Refugees and Challenging Islamophobia
- Be aware of the proposed inter-faith centre in the Honest Ed’s development.
- Inviting a Muslim speaker from the National Council of Canadian Muslims to give us a kind of Islam 101
- Importance of informing ourselves through interpersonal dialogue
- Week by week small actions that we can ask members to do; a kind of weekly mission that we are sent off with at the conclusion of our services e.g. make a phone call, sign petition
- Start our actions with an exploration of the document That We May Know Each Other
- Draft letter regarding suspension of safe third country agreement motion modeling letters from other conferences
- Advertising events we become aware of on our listserve, inviting others to join
- Introducing ourselves to our Muslim neighbours, e.g the Ismaili worship group in our neighbourhood.
Jared agreed to help co-ordinate events and make sure communications were facilitated for TSP. It was also noted that we should make an effort to reach those who are not on the list serve.
It was also noted that we need to keep the Board of TSP aware of any actions that are undertaken so they can address any concerns that arise.
Please note that this a summary of the discussion and apologies in advance for anything missed or mis-stated,