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Interfaith Programs

Toronto Interfaith Forum: Understanding Scripture

Toronto, Canada - UPF’s monthly meeting on November 13 addressed topics related to a broader understanding of different religions. Rev. Mitch Dixon talked about the scriptures of various religions, Abdul R. Qureshi presented a brief lecture on the Patriarch Abraham (peace be upon him), and Earl Smith talked about the common value of peace through the teachings of Scientology. Dr. Hoossen Auckberaullee appraised the members about ongoing UPF activities within the Central District of UPF-Canada.

Rev. Mitch Dixon narrated quotes from World Scripture: A Comparative Anthology of Sacred Texts. He spoke of the Prophets and Messengers of God who played a pivotal role in conveying the message of peace. As long as there is a contradiction between the absolute standard of righteousness and the corrupt and evil ways of secular society, righteous people will rise up and call society and their rulers to account.

Prophets and reformers speak out for the welfare of the community, often at the risk of their lives. The company of those who call for justice includes the prophets of the Old Testament and the Qur'an, the Confucian and Hindu sages, and all those who have followed their examples. Among those who followed good prophetic examples we might include Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Muhammad Iqbal, Nichiren, and Simon Kimbangu, to name a few.

However, a prophetic ministry is not limited to a few saints; in various ways, large and small, it is required of us all.

Abdul R. Qureshi spoke about the Prophet Abraham (PBUH) with reference to the Muslim Hajj (pilgrimage), which began November 15 this year, which is the 9th of Zul Hijjah, 1431 in the Islamic calendar. He expressed the view that the Hajj provides an opportunity for the people of different cultures, colors, nationalities, and ethnicities to forge a relationship of goodwill among the children of Abraham (PBUH).

The Hajj dates back to the events in the prophetic life of Abraham (PBUH). Those traveling to the Hajj sacrifice livestock commemorating Abraham’s following the divine command to sacrifice his first-born son Ishmael (PBUH). What touches God is the piety with which a believer sacrifices livestock following the command of God, as was the case with Abraham (PBUH).

Participants in the Hajj also remember the quest of Hagar (PBUH) for water for her infant son Ishmael (PBUH). She was blessed with the natural divine fountain Zamzam, which still gushes water even after thousands of years. Abdul R. Qureshi added that carrying out the divine recommendations of the Hajj brings inner peace within a believer and opens the path of peace among the children of Abraham (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) because of their loyalty to Abraham (PBUH) and his teachings.

Earl Smith expressed his view that each religion values peace. He quoted the saying of Rev. Ron Hubbard that “we live to help” and by serving others. Every year the Church of Scientology in Toronto honors two or three individuals for their humanitarian work. This year an Indian activist was awarded the “Freedom Medal” for his extraordinary work among the poor of Mumbai. The Church of Scientology of Toronto made arrangements for a “Happiness program” in the city of Cartagena, Colombia which resulted in a 40 percent crime reduction. In the Toronto area, a candlelight service helped raise funds for the victims of floods in Pakistan; it was well attended by people of various faith groups. He reported that one can find the Church of Scientology in the forefront of all types of humanitarian work to establish peace on earth.

Dr. Hoossen Auckberaullee announced that the York Police Chief Armand Le Barge would be retiring on December 12. He has been an Ambassador for Peace with UPF, and his services to the community will be remembered fondly for many years to come.

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