(Dec 1, 2009) – The Don Heights Unitarian Congregation and Initiatives of Change (Canada) hosted an interfaith dialogue following the screening of the award winning documentary film, The Imam and The Pastor, on Sunday November 29, 2009.
The film tells the story of Pastor James Wuye and Imam Muhammad Ashafa who led opposing, armed militias, dedicated to defending their respective communities as violence broke out in Kaduna, northern Nigeria in the 1990s.
In pitched battles, Pastor James lost his hand and Imam Ashafa’s spiritual mentor and two close relatives were killed. Now the two men are co-directors of the Muslim-Christian Interfaith Mediation Centre in their city, leading task-forces to resolve conflicts across Nigeria.
Following the film presentation, Rev. Debra Faulk of Don Heights Unitarian Congregation introduced guest panellists, Dr. Kevin Livingston and Muneeb Nasir, who engaged in a lively and honest inter-faith dialogue with the audience and reflected on the film based on their faiths, Christianity and Islam.
Dr. Kevin Livingston is Senior Pastor of Knox Presbyterian Church and an instructor at Tyndale Seminary and Muneeb Nasir is President of the Olive Tree Foundation and a volunteer chaplain and Khateeb (visiting Imam) on the University campuses and Masjid Toronto.
Dr. Livingston commented that Canadian religious communities do not face the same issues portrayed in the film but better relationships among local faith groups are needed.
Muneeb Nasir talked about the great difficulties Muslims face, at this moment in history, in explaining to their fellow citizens the value of peace that is so deeply ingrained in the Islamic teachings. He commented on the need for Muslims to strengthen alliances with other faith communities who would be able to articulate to Canadians the higher values found in Islam and which they all share.
Initiatives of Change Association (Canada) is the Canadian associate of a global network open to people of all nationalities, cultures, religions and beliefs who work toward change locally and globally, starting with change in their own lives. Formerly known as Moral Re-Armament, this network has been active on every continent for over 60 years.