Interfaith Symposium In Northern Canada Continues Seeking Peace And Harmony In The World Through Faith

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By Gian Singh Kotli

Keeping in view the magnanimity of violence and turmoil around the world, it is the dire need of the times that all faiths must resort to spreading the message of love, equality and peaceful co-existence taking sincere and effective measures. This initiative can surely play a significant role in providing soothing touch to the suffering humanity. According to Sikh faith all the same which lead us towards the right path of doing good deeds and serving the mankind. In this respect we must pray to Creator Lord to seek his blessings that we should never refrain from do right things for the well being of entire mankind. This is what the Tenth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh has said. “Lord, give me this blessing that I should never refrain from doing good deeds even if I have to sacrifice my life for this cause.” Even the Fifth Guru has told us to pray to the Almighty to save the suffering humanity in the following words, “Save by Thy grace, the world in flames; save it at whatever portal it is saved”

In this respect I am all praise for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of BC who worked hard to arrange for several Interfaith Symposiums (World Religions Conferences) in North Canada to create awareness for peace and harmony in the world. The symposiums were organized in Whitehorse on September 25, Dawson City on 27 and Inuvik on 29 in Yukon and Northwest Territories, Canada in which prominent scholars spoke on the given topics, of “The role of religion in the 21st century” and “Is religion source for unity or reason for conflict?”

Acharya S.P. Dwivedi presented Hindu perspective, Gian Singh Kotli from Vancouver B.C. presented Sikh perspective and Muhammad Afzal Mirza from Toronto presented Islam perspective at all these conferences.

It is interesting to note that we traveled from Whitehorse to Dawson City and Inuvik by road. The drive from Dawson City to Inuvik on a 750 KM long Dempster Highway 5 is extremely tough and requires adventurist spirit. The journey on this solitary mountainous road has all sorts of hazards and beauties to enjoy. We crossed Arctic Circle at 400 KM. It is the only highway in Canada to cross Arctic Circle.

At Whitehorse, Mr Rick Buchan represented Buddhism, Rev Beverly C.S. Brazier, Christianity, Mr Rick Karp represented Judaism and Florence Roberts Councilor was the moderator. At Dawson City, Councilor Wayne Potoroka was moderator, Mr Percy Henry represented Aboriginal and Pastor Ian Nytland represented Christianity. At Inuvik, Mr Derek Lindsay was the Moderator, Ray S.N. Goose represented Aboriginal and Mr Doug Robertson represented Christianity. About 25 Punjabi families are in Whitehorse, but Dawson City has none. But in Inuvik, Engineer Gurdev Singh Jagpal, with his wife Tarlochan Kaur, is holding a high position job with the government of Northwest Territories for the last 22 years.

It was great a achievement of these inter faith symposiums that all speakers put forward the best of their faiths to create awareness for a more enduring peace and harmony in the world as enshrined in their holy books. All speakers stressed upon the need to restrain violence and hatred in the world through more meaningful efforts and in true spirits of their respective faiths. This is also highly commendable that Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of BC organized such events at Vancouver, Victoria, Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Kalona, Kamloops, Williams Lake. Salmon Arm, etc, providing much needed opportunity to major religions to join together for spreading the message of love, goodwill and peaceful coexistence as ordained by their faiths. I feel fortunate to take part in all these conferences.  About 25 Punjabi families are in Whitehorse, but Dawson City has none. But in Inuvik Engineer Gurdev Singh Jagpal and Tarlochan are there for the last 22 years.