To co-exist is to “recognize and accept”, according to Hashim Pashtun, Ohio University Student Senate International Affairs Commissioner, while introducing the interfaith panel discussion Monday, February 24. Held at 6 p.m. in Room 219 of the Multicultural Center in Baker, five panelists – Rev. Evan Young, Prof. Amritjit Singh, Stephen Kropf, Javad Anjum, and Rev. Rob Martin – came together to discuss inter-religious co-existence and understanding. All representing their respective religions, the discussion focused not on panelists’ own beliefs, but on the main themes and obstacles facing all faiths. They also focused on how to go forward toward interfaith harmony.
When asked if they believed it is possible and desirable to co-exist, Javad Anjum emphasized, “it is no longer a possibility, but a necessity.” Agreeing with Anjum, Rev. Martin added, “it starts with an inherent dignity and worth for everybody.” This urge for the importance of inter-religious understanding seemed prominent across the board of panelists.
Other main themes among the panelists’ responses included religion’s inevitable tie with politics, fear as a root of inter-religious violence, and general misconceptions about religious practices and beliefs. One person from the crowd asked the panel whether information about different faiths should be taught in the public education system; the panel collectively emphasized the ideality of the concept, but the difficulty in it actually being done.
With a great turn out and an attentive crowd, the International Affairs Commission’s interfaith panel was an informative and beneficial experience for all who attended. Look out for more exciting events coming to you from Student Senate soon!
Reported by Emily Beekman