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Interfaith Programs

Montreal Interfaith Forum: Acceptance of Interfaith - The Next Step

Montreal, Canada - In the spirit of World Interfaith Harmony Week, UPF-Canada hosted Dr. Frank Kaufmann on February 21 speaking on the theme of “Acceptance of Interfaith – the Next Step.” He noted that interfaith collaboration has not been popular until recently, but there has been progress.

Dr. Kaufmann, an interfaith veteran of over 30 years, serves on the board of Trac5, a prominent inter-religious organization devoted to Christian Muslim re-conciliation. While in Montreal this time, he held several private meetings, conducted a number of larger meetings and seminars, and agreed to extend his stay an extra day so as to address this UPF, monthly meeting.

Participants at this meeting included leaders and representatives from Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, several Christian denominations, and members of other faiths. Of note were Mr. Resham Singh, leader of Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar, the largest Sikh temple in Montreal; former Chief Rabbi of Geneva, Yaakov Levy, currently of Congrégation Sépharade Beth Rambam in Montreal; and Father Tibu Fernandez of the Roman Catholic St. Joseph Oratory in Montreal.

Dr. Kaufmann spoke on the “Acceptance of Interfaith – the Next Step” In his talk, he presented the data that close to 70 percent of the world’s 6.8 billion people live in countries with high restrictions on religion. He noted that interfaith collaboration has not been popular until recently, but there has been progress. Dr. Kaufmann recommended that this progress is attributable in part to to the following factors:

- increase in travel and population transfer
- secularization and decline of established religions
- questions concerning the effectiveness of the United Nations
- an increase in religious identification
- war and social destabilization
- globalization of the media and the advent of social media
- the presence of popular religious figures such as the Dalai Lama and Pope John Paul II
- the fall of communism

The presentation was met with several questions, and lively discussion followed.

Note: For more information on Trac 5 please visit their website: http://www.trac5.org/.

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