Interfaith Dialogue to discuss commonalities and shared values Wednesday

The devil can cite scripture for his own purpose poster

A second Interfaith Dialogue to discuss commonalities and shared values amongst faiths will once again bring together three religious leaders – a minister, an imam and a rabbi – at York, deepening and continuing a conversation that began last year.

The Interfaith Dialogue – “The Devil Can Cite Scripture for His Own Purpose” (Antonio – Merchant of Venice – Shakespeare) – will take place Nov. The devil can cite scripture for his own purpose poster7, from 3 to 5pm, at 105 Life Sciences Building, Keele campus. The event is sponsored by York’s Centre for Human Rights.

The speakers will be Minister Karen Hamilton, general secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches, Imam Kazem Mesbah Moosavi, president and imam of the Islamic Iranian Centre of Imam Ali and Rabbi Michael Stroh, a rabbi Emeritus of Temple Har Zion in North York-Thornhill. The session will be moderated by Richard Landau, faith and interfaith TV executive producer. Ron Smith, a chartered accountant and founder of Smith Forensics Inc., is the project facilitator.

“Our guest speakers will speak about the common threads in each of the faiths and tackle challenging questions relating to religious view on such subjects as homosexuality, gender roles and religious stereotypes,” says Noël Badiou, director of the Centre for Human Rights. “The session will be moderated by Mr. Richard M. Landau who will facilitate the tough questions surrounding Islamaphopbia, anti-Semitism, and how such incidents manifest themselves.”

Badiou sees the speakers as “providing insight, wisdom and guidance for York’s students, faculty and staff in navigating what we often perceive as conflicting religious viewpoints”.

He notes that the posters developed for the event, while somewhat edgy, “signal the ease with which anyone can subvert scripture for their own purposes. They are meant to raise attention and interest in bringing students, faculty and staff together to begin an earnest dialogue about how we can apply our respective beliefs to better understand what we perceive as ‘the other’ and appreciate that while we may have many different perspectives/beliefs, we do have common values of respect and appreciation of the inherent dignity of each and every person.”

Hamilton, recipient of the Association of Progressive Muslims of Ontario Heritage Day award, is also co-president of the World Conference of Religions for Peace and governor of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews. She is committed to speaking about and working for ecumenism interfaith dialogue, the use of the Bible in the church and local and global justice.

Stroh, past president of Arza Canada and past chair of Arzenu: International Federation of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists, was an instructor at Queen’s College and taught Jewish thought at the School of Education and philosophy at the School of Sacred Music of HUC – JIR. He has also taught Jewish theology at the University of Waterloo and St. Michael’s University of the University of Toronto. In 1966, he was assistant rabbi of Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto and then associate rabbi until 1971 when he became rabbi of the newly formed Temple Har Zion.

Moosavi is a professor of philosophy, theology and jurisprudence at Elmiyeh Seminary of Qom, a representative of the Supreme Religious Authorities and has taught at McGill University, Tehran University and Amir Kabir University. In addition, he is a member of the Research Group in Sociology in the Office of Research Cooperation of Elmiyeh Seminary and University, as well as a member of the Research Group in Philosophy.

Landau is an award-winning television host and senior executive producer in charge of interfaith programing for Canada’s CTS-TV, where his is responsible for over a dozen regularly scheduled TV series. He has earned over 40 international awards for TV excellence and was the host and producer of Behind the Story, a weekly TV series exploring the ethics of journalism, and Faith Journal, a weekly program dedicated to interfaith discussion and world faith news.

“This partnership, along with many others that the CHR is fostering, seeks to help promote dialogue and with a view to improving our community’s culture to one that is fully respectful, equitable, embraces diversity and inclusive,” says Badiou.

For more information, visit the Centre for Human Rights website.