Young Baha’is join New Generation Interfaith Initiative

Young Baha’is join New Generation Interfaith Initiative


On November 12th, the New Generation Interfaith Initiative, a group formed under the auspices of the Canadian Interfaith Conversation, held their first gathering, “Renewed Engagement: Forging New Paths for Our Interfaith Conversation.” 

The one-day event, hosted at the University of Toronto Multi-Faith Centre, explored the history of the interfaith movement in Canada and new avenues and opportunities for youth-led interfaith work. Participants came from various non-religious and religious backgrounds, including the Baha’i, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim faiths.

The impetus behind movements to overcome religious prejudice was reflected in stories shared by experienced participants in interfaith initiatives. Personal accounts recollected joint projects at the local, national, and international levels.

These efforts have led a group of people from various faiths to have constructive conversations and build bridges of trust and cooperation in Canada. As Samira Kanji, Director of the Noor Cultural Centre noted, “We’ve learned that if we all see ourselves as in a vertical relationship with God, we must be in a horizontal relationship with each other”. The challenge, another panelist mentioned, was to see what possibilities now lay ahead: what other advances could be made by a group that speaks together with ease and tolerance about their beliefs?

Even as the participants moved to thematic conversations in smaller groups they drew on insights from the teachings and experiences of different religious communities to address pressing social issues. Groups focused on Indigenous-settler relations, the environment, migration and refugees, and issues surrounding news media and technology.

Ashraf Rushdy, one of the Baha’i participants, noted, “these kinds of conversations have importance because, just as people everywhere are becoming more and more conscious that human beings are one, there’s a space for us here, together, to see a oneness of spirit as well.”