By Dr. Hamid Slimi
When I attend different international interfaith conferences, everyone relates how they have developed good and healthy interfaith relations among different faiths everywhere in their countries.
They speak of how they have dialogue and developed respectful relations with their neighbours.
But for us here in this great country of Canada, I believe we have gone beyond simple encounters and interfaith presentations.
The nature of our interfaith relations is taking much more mature, progressive and advanced forms.
We are making a difference in people’s lives, not by telling them what our scriptures say about poverty, but we are feeding the poor and working to eradicate poverty in our cities.
Not what our scriptures say about love but we are sowing the seeds of love in people’s hearts by showing respect and love indiscriminately.
Not what our scriptures teach about the neighbor but we are building good, respectful and friendly neighbourhoods.
We model for the world what ‘global citizenship’ is, as the former US vice president Al Gore put it when he described Canada 10 years ago.
Let us export this universal model to the world and reclaim the core message of our faiths that is based on understanding what humanity is all about.
As I always say and will always say: “you can’t be a good Muslim until you become a good human being…”
Thus, when we lose our humanity, we lose the essence of our faiths.
(Dr. Hamid Slimi’s received the Interfaith Award at the Intercultural Dialogue Institute (IDI GTA) 2016 Peace and Dialogue Awards held on January 18 at the Royal York Hotel. This is an edited version of his acceptance speech).