By TCN News
Toronto: Last Sunday a Muslims- Jews interfaith dialogues took place at the Lawrence Height Community Center, North York, Toronto. It was organized by Jews-Muslims Dialogue (MJD). Approximately Twenty members from both communities took part in this dialogue. It was round table discussions held at two different tables. It was unique in the sense that no speeches and no questions and answers took place. Simple discussions in a friendly and very cordial manner. The discussions were slated to be held to discuss what are the three values that Jews and Muslims share/ What proportion of attendees in your circle are secular versus religious? What things can we do to enhance harmony in Canada and abroad? What are Muslims and Jews attitudes toward pictures of the prophets and God? And what stereo types Muslims have of Jews and vice versa?
In one group in which Firoz Khan, Afzal Khan, Zameer Patil, Abdul Hai Patel, Tariq Khan, Co-chair o MJD and Qasim Abbas represented Muslim side and on the other hand Simon, David, Tanya, Lyla and others represented Jews side. It was observed that many participants were to acquire the knowledge of the other religion. Firoz said that the teachings of Islam, Christianity, Judaism and for that matter all religions are similar. Both religions teach respect to elders, not speak the untruth, not to indulge in adultery and not to kill. Unfortunately members of both religions in actuality deviate from the real teachings in their day to day life. Qasim Abbas supported the views expressed and said that name of Moses is mentioned in holy Quran more than prophet Muhammed. Muslims also consider and treat Moses as one of the messengers sent by God. He said in Islam there is no compulsion. One participant wanted to know why Muslims convert others to Islam. She was replied that no one is converted to Islam by force. Those who come to the fold of Islam do so of their free will and choice.
Abbas said that some Muslims deny the Holocaust but the majority believe it has happened and Jews suffered a lot. He said that Muslims are divided into many sects and groups and wanted to know whether the same is there in Jews too. He was told by a participant that yes the same thing is prevalent among Jews too.
There was no moderator and everyone felt strongly that there should be moderators to conduct the discussion so that the time is not lost in discussing other unrelated and unspecified matters. Despite the absence of any moderator the dialogue took place in a very disciplined and cordial manner.
At the end David and Firoz thanked participants and appeal to bring more people to the next dialogue to be held after summer. Firoz Khan said that this kind of dialogues should be held frequently as they help to understand each other and help enhance harmony.