Kevin Toomey & Daud Azimullah - Bringing the interfaith community together

Interviewed by Tim LynchFebruary 24, 2016
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Their aim is to promote interfaith cooperation around shared religious values to strengthen the public’s commitment to the values of civic participation, freedom of religion, diversity, and civility in public discourse and to encourage the active involvement of people of faith in every countries political life.

This weekend the interfaith convention is being held to bring about renewed ideas of harmony, about peace, and about ways in which people can work and live together.

With Auckland city now been seen as one of the most diverse metropolises on our planet today, even more than Sydney, London, Los Angeles and New York. In this rapid process we are witnessing a surge in both religions, philosophies and ways of being - including the concept of unity within diversity.

With both local and global societies being challenged like never before - how do the faith based religions and creeds initiate dialogue so as to dissolve barriers of unknowingness and recognise that we are one global family that share in one invisible breath.

This interview covers many issues around relationship and peace.

How we connect with people – is to see each other as neighbours find ways to meet people in our street and share morning tea – have a meal – build bridges – as there are now in Auckland so many different races of people of different colour so we need to do our best and just make the effort to be neighbourly. Children are the ones to make contact with, as they will introduce us to their parents.

Also, fear that is in many ways promulgated by news items on TV and radio to make one more suspicious and untrusting towards ones neighbours, but also sews the seeds of stress inside us as well.  Kevin posits the idea that it needs to be an obligation of Governments to down-play violent acts in the best way possible and smooth over extreme acts, less there be ‘copy cats’ who follow up on these extremities in a localised situation.

We in NZ are very privileged to live in a safe country that has not seen the violence that we can see nightly on globalised TV.

When we communicate with people of other persuasions we can find common virtues and values that tie us together and find common ground that leads us to a deeper and wider conversation of unity and diversity.

With interfaith relationships, they a not there to convert each other to each others respective faith, they are just to find commonalities and this they enjoy.

Daud, mentions that here in NZ, 1% of the population are Muslim and a significant number of them are from Fiji, and as they are situated very far from the Middle East they are not involved in any of their politics and do not affiliate with ether Sunni or Shiite but are just Moslem. In NZ every August they open their mosques and for one day invite NZers to visit, as the mosques are basically a floor and a place where the Imam can sit and share his sermon from.

The key components are to finding commonalities between all faiths and all religions … of compassion, of love … of these virtues as well as the transcendent – which draws everyone more closely together

As we all know, our world today is gripped by the 3 waves that are cresting around the challenges inclusive of peace. They are ecological, economic and of societal fragmentation and upheaval. Never have we had to face such events on a global scale that is facing us at present.

We must remember to always work towards the points that unify, not the points to divide, to that which brings harmony  - and not discord that leads to separation and possibly war.

These are challenging times and the imperative is to be open to dialogues and connect to the light behind everyone eyes. for more details: [email protected]


11th National Interfaith Forum
hosted by Auckland Inter-Faith Council
Theme: ""Building Bridges- Hearts, Communities, Humanity""
Dates:  26-28 February 2016 (Friday 6 – 9 pm, Saturday 9 am – 5:30 pm, Sunday  9:30 am to 1:30 pm)

Times & Venues:   

Friday, 6 – 9 p.m., Selwyn Library, 8 St Stephens Avenue Parnell (across from Holy Trinity Cathedral);

Sat. 9 am – 5:30 pm at the Quality Hotel, 20 Gladstone Road, Parnell, Auckland;

Sunday 9:30 am – 1:30 pm, The Community of St Luke's Presbyterian Church, 130 Remuera Road.

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Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch, is a New Zealander, who is fortunate in that he has whakapapa, or a bloodline that connects him to the Aotearoan Maori. He has been involved as an activist for over 40 years - within the ecological, educational, holistic, metaphysical, spiritual & nuclear free movements. He sees the urgency of the full spectrum challenges that are coming to meet us, and is putting his whole life into being an advocate for todays and tomorrows children. 'To Mobilise Consciousness.'

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