An inter-faith dialogue to educate about world’s religions

Dasha Vovk, Staff Writer

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 Representatives from five local faith communities had a deep conversation about their religion’s beliefs and perspectives on Nov. 16 at the Learning Resource Center’s room 435.

 Titled “Living The 1st Amendment in San Diego,” the event was moderated by honors student Hasti Ahmadi. Guests from the Baha’i Community of San Diego, Buddhist Temple of San Diego, Chinese Evangelical Church of San Diego, Islamic Center of San Diego, and San Diego Calvary Korean Church answered audience’s questions and shared their thoughts and ideas on different topics in terms of their beliefs. Each representative talked about their community, it’s members, services they offer and its history. It showed that most communities have diversity within their respective communities, from different backgrounds, ethnics and stages of life. The Baha’i community for instance, whose teachings are centered around the unity of humanity, consists of individuals who are Caucasian, Middle-Eastern, African American, Native American, Asian and Hispanic.

 Dr. Waverly Ray, a geography professor at San Diego Mesa College and organizer of this event, said “one of the great ways to get to know a new culture or country is to learn about its religion.”

 While the conversation guests shared their opinions about recent presidential elections, a topic that can’t be ignored, representative of Islamic Center of San Diego, Taha Hassane said, “When my daughter came to me on the next day after elections and said this is the reality I told her get ready to challenge this reality, get ready to stand for justice and to challenge racism and bigotry. This is what we prepare our kids for. We teach them to learn from the struggling and experience of every minority.”

Representative from Baha’I the community, Yassy Weixelman, said that the result of elections wasn’t a surprise for her. “Baha’I believes that all messengers from God including Jesus, Mohamed and Buddha came at the time when humanity needed those teachings from God, and Baha’u’llah, who came about 200 years ago, described how the world that we have today is no longer sufficient for how the humanity could be involved and so it’s falling apart.  We see so much evidence of that in all sorts of prejudice and corruption that exist in politics today,” she explained.

 They also talked about differences between their faiths and each religion’s uniqueness. Every religion has its own vision about life and humanity. But when we look at what’s in the core of each of them, we see same ideas: they all believe only in one creator and in power of the equality and unity of people.

 Judy Sandayo, part of the counselor faculty in Mesa College, said: “I so appreciate that each of representatives has come to share their ideologies and beliefs. It’s great that they work together, because that’s why we are here for, to learn from each other and help each other regardless our differences.”

 All communities welcome comers from any religion or ethnic.

 Guests agreed on the idea that it’s easier for people to reinforce their belief if they are a part of community. A representative from Buddhist Temple, Kaytee Sumida, compared this to embers, referencing how alone an ember is not strong, but when surrounded by more of its kind, the flame is stronger.

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