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Interfaith symposium spreads message of peace

The organizers of a recent interfaith symposium in Smithers are pleased with how things went.
Davinder Singh Sanga speaks about Sikhism at the Interfaith Symposium.

The organizers of a recent interfaith symposium in Smithers are pleased with how things went as they end their Northwestern B.C. tour for another year.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community used the Northwest Community College for their symposium which was held mid-September.

Approximately 30 people attended the forum.

President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, based in Surrey, Rizwan Peerzada said it was encouraging and appreciated seeing everyone who came out to learn a bit more about different religions, as well as the theme of “Reconciling the Existence of God and Human Suffering.”

“They really like to see it,” said Peerzada about the forum. “[They say] we should do it again, these kind of events.”

A panel of five speakers representing five different religions — Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, Islam and Aboriginal faith — each gave a presentation and answered questions.

The northwestern tours began in 2004 in Prince George, although similar events have been held in Vancouver for about 25 years.

From their start in Prince George, Peerzada said it has been great getting the word out not only about their own religion but others.

“From that point it has really given us opportunity to share the teaching of Islam and at the same time hear back from different faiths about their beautiful teachings, so in that regard, Interfaith Symposiums are doing very good.”

While in a cultural sense religions provide differences among people, he said that what he’s taken from the forums is that people are created by the same god, just called by different names, and that differences in values don’t really exist.

“We share the common values of each other,” he said.

The plan is to continue holding events such as these in the north for as long as they have the resources to do it.

“Our message is to promote a love for all and welcome all of them, no matter what colour they are or what background they have.”