In­ter­faith Vigil strength­ens bonds of unity at Hol­land Park Sur­rey

The Miracle - - Local -

On Feb 4, Al­though Alexan­dre Bis­sonette made his voice heard through terror and vi­o­lence by killing in­no­cent and de­fence­less Cana­di­ans, the over­ar­ch­ing voice of the Cana­dian spirit as­pires to em­brace the fruits of the spirit: com­pas­sion, gen­tle­ness, good­ness, faith­ful­ness, for­bear­ance, for­ti­tude, grace, heal­ing, kind­ness, mercy, love, pa­tience, peace, self-con­trol and un­der­stand­ing. A vigil prayer for the vic­tims of Que­bec Is­lamic Cul­tural Cen­ter at Hol­land Park in Sur­rey was at­tended by about one hun­dred peo­ple with the aim to show sol­i­dar­ity with the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies and to bring to­gether gen­er­a­tions of peo­ple from dif­fer­ent faiths to pro­mote peace and un­der­stand­ing in a world faced with ex­trem­ism and vi­o­lence. Linda Hep­ner, Mayor of Sur­rey, Coun­cil­lor Mike Starchuck and a myr­iad of MPs and MLAs con­demned the sav­age at­tack in the strong­est terms pos­si­ble. A strong pres­ence of faith-based and non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions made it clear that we will con­quer hate with com­pas­sion, love, un­der­stand­ing and jus­tice. Sikan­dar and Suzanne Hayat reflect on why the Amaz­ing Tu­tors Chil­dren’s Foun­da­tion or­ga­nized this event: “Our sin­cere hope is to pro­tect and help our com­mu­ni­ties cope and build re­silience in a rapidly chang­ing world char­ac­ter­ized with high lev­els of ex­trem­ism. Terror has no place any­where and it is a hor­rific crime com­mit­ted against hu­man­ity. One way to stop acts of ter­ror­ism is to ed­u­cate chil­dren and young peo­ple about Is­lam and other faiths in ac­cord with strong cur­ric­ula based on re­search find­ings. We can pur­sue a long term strat­egy which in­stills in them the de­sire to act in­tel­li­gently, wisely and pre­vent them from be­com­ing en­e­mies of the state. The fruits of such an in­clu­sive, ed­u­ca­tional pro­gram will be a car­ing and giv­ing com­mu­nity made up of compassionate, for­giv­ing, re­spect­ful, tol­er­ant, and trust­wor­thy cit­i­zens.” We feel that peo­ple who are in­volved in hate­ful and re­li­giously in­tol­er­ant ac­tiv­i­ties do not rep­re­sent the ma­jor­ity of Cana­di­ans. From across Canada, the myr­iad stream of faith groups are pro­mot­ing in­ter­faith di­a­logue and co­op­er­a­tion to end po­lit­i­cally and re­li­giously mo­ti­vated vi­o­lence. We aim to cre­ate cul­tures of com­pas­sion, re­spect, peace, un­der­stand­ing and heal­ing for all liv­ing be­ings on earth. We feel that no one has the right to take away a per­son’s spir­i­tual free will and self-de­ter­mi­na­tion, nor their un­der­ly­ing strength, and we are do­ing ev­ery­thing within our power to fight for peace and con­demn this hor­rific at­tack. We need to be en­gaged in a process of heal­ing that is col­lab­o­ra­tive, en­hanc­ing, in­clu­sive, prac­ti­cal, pro-ac­tive and re­spon­si­ble. We must stand united to­gether to cre­ate a so­ci­ety of love and jus­tice. Th­ese hor­rific at­tacks on in­no­cent civil­ians are re­ally meant to di­vide us; how­ever, with love and jus­tice as our com­mon shield, we can rec­og­nize our dif­fer­ences and strive to be the best hu­man be­ing. Any sav­age at­tacks on in­no­cent civil­ians, whether they oc­cur in Canada, Syria, Paris, Beirut, Brus­sels, Pak­istan, USA or in any other city or coun­try, are heinous and with­out jus­ti­fi­ca­tion. We stand in sol­i­dar­ity and con­demn th­ese de­monic, hor­rific acts in the strong­est terms pos­si­ble. To­day, our thoughts are with the loved ones of those killed and in­jured. We are ex­tremely grat­i­fied for the sup­port we have re­ceived from the lo­cal me­dia in pro­mot­ing the vigil. We ex­tend our grat­i­tude to the staff at the City of Sur­rey for their gra­cious sup­port. About the Foun­da­tion As a foun­da­tion ad­vo­cat­ing for chil­dren ev­ery­where, The Amaz­ing Tu­tors Chil­dren’s Foun­da­tion con­demns vi­o­lence against chil­dren re­gard­less of the form it takes. The chil­dren at the Mosque in the Que­bec Is­lamic Cul­tural Cen­tre at­tended with their fam­i­lies to pray and wor­ship. A threat to their lives should raise con­cerns for ev­ery­one about re­li­giously mo­ti­vated vi­o­lence. Th­ese in­no­cent lives must be pro­tected, for within them are the seeds of the world we want to build. If we hope to cre­ate a so­ci­ety of tol­er­ance, free­dom and com­pas­sion, then we must se­cure the safety of all chil­dren and their fam­i­lies re­gard­less of race, re­li­gion, or gen­der. Chil­dren rep­re­sent the fu­ture of our so­ci­ety and com­mu­nity. Vi­o­lence against them will only con- tinue the cy­cle of in­tol­er­ance and hate that di­vides us as peo­ple. By stand­ing to­gether in con­dem­na­tion against vi­o­lence, we can help break the cy­cle, and cre­ate com­mu­ni­ties of un­der­stand­ing, car­ing, and com­pas­sion. The chil­dren at­tended prayers with their fam­i­lies, mak­ing the mosque pop­u­lated while the at­tack en­sued. The tim­ing of the at­tack only raises con­cerns about in­tol­er­ance and vi­o­lence within our com­mu­ni­ties. At a time when com­mu­ni­ca­tion and diplo­macy are needed more than ever, acts such as this only ex­ac­er­bate and in­flate ten­sions be­tween re­li­gious com­mu­ni­ties here in Canada. If we hope to cre­ate greater un­der­stand­ing be­tween peo­ple, we must take steps to end vi­o­lence that fos­ters in­tol­er­ance and ha­tred. We call to ev­ery­one to help end vi­o­lence, es­pe­cially when it threat­ens the lives of chil­dren. As a com­mu­nity, we should strive to cre­ate a space for chil­dren to live that is safe, tol­er­ant, and compassionate. Acts of vi­o­lence threaten us all, even when directed at spe­cific groups,” ad­vo­cate the di­rec­tors of the Amaz­ing Tu­tors Chil­dren’s Foun­da­tion. We are grate­ful for ev­ery­one’s sup­port and en­cour­age­ment in help­ing us build peace to­gether. We seek to build com­mu­ni­ties by sup­port­ing youth and chil­dren through ed­u­ca­tional and vol­un­teer op­por­tu­ni­ties in Sur­rey, BC. We in­volve our stu­dents and tu­tors in var­i­ous pro­grams, such as the lead­er­ship youth de­vel­op­ment pro­gram. We need more peo­ple to join us. For more in­for­ma­tion about this event, please con­tact Sikan­dar or Suzanne Hayat at 604765-4099 or Amaz­ingTu­tors@hot­mail.com

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