Rabbi Aaron Greenberg (left), Fr. Carlos Martins and Imam Mirza Afzal represented Judaism, Christianity and Islam, respectively, at the World Religions Conference at York University. Photo courtesy of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Students’ Association

Religious founders aid interfaith peace

By 
  • March 28, 2014

TORONTO - Despite religious differences, people are capable of showing one another love, compassion and mercy, says Jari Qudrat. These qualities, he says, are attributed to God, and it is God who is at the heart of the World Religions Conference.

The March 20 World Religions Conference was hosted by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Students’ Association in co-operation with the university’s Catholic chaplaincy and Jewish Hillel group.

Its purpose was to promote peace, harmony, unity and knowledge, said Qudrat, spokesperson for the conference and executive of AMSA at York. The conference has been held on different university campuses across Canada.

An estimated 200 people attended the event that highlighted the founders of some of the world’s major religions. Qudrat said the story of these founders and the universal truths they received from God can build bridges between different faiths. Attendees learned about Jesus Christ, the Prophet Mohammed and Moses, among others.

Love, for example says Qudrat, is “something that resonates across all cultures, all founders and all religions.”

He says people know who founded their own religions, but still may not be fully aware of the historical impact of each founder.

The conference was also meant to erase misconceptions.

“At the end of the day, the message is coming from the same source, so there will be a lot of similarities in all founders, some who had a particular focus on forgiveness, some who had a particular focus on mercy,” Qudrat said.

Christianity was represented by Fr. Carlos Martins of the Companions of the Cross and a convert from atheism. Rabbi Aaron Greenberg, a York University graduate, represented Judaism. Imam Mirza Afzal, a Muslim missionary who has served at other World Religions Conferences in Canada, represented Islam. Buddhism and Sikhism were represented by Reverend Christina Yanko and Balpreet Singh, respectively.

Qudrat hopes conference attendees walked away with a sense of brotherhood from the event.

“We want everybody to realize that we’re all united as human beings. We have to stay together; we have to help one another. That’s the primary message,” he said.

“We want people to learn more about their founders (and) at the same time become united.”

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