Interreligious Community Building Project
International Institute of Buffalo hosted a professional exchage program that connect foreign leaders with their American counterparts to create cross cultural dialogue and solutions to global issues. On Wednesday, October 06, a meeting was held for a project titled ‘Interreligious Community Building’ under Open World Program 2019 with a delegation from Russia at the head-office of WNYMuslims located at Bailey Avenue.
The members of the Russian delegation:
Mr. Aleksandr Yakunin: Graduate Student, Moscow Theological Academy
Ms. Yekaterina Mironova: Instructor, Polenov Municipal Children’s Art School No. 2 of Applied and Decorative Art
Ms. Viktoriya Yatsenko: Notary Adviser, S. Krokhina Notary Office & Minister, Protestant Church
Mr. Denis Zuban: Priest, Orthodox Parish of the Church of the Icon of the Healer.
attended the meeting along with a representative of International Institute of Buffalo, Ms Samantha Kittinger and their facilitator, Aleksandr Bryukhanov.
WNYMuslims represented the Muslim community and its members are as follows:
Prof. Faizan Haq, Founding, President
Ms. Farina Mirza, Community Outreach Coordinator
Ms. Sana Iqbal, Govt. Affairs Coordinator
Mr. Taha Khan, Undergrad and an intern.
Prof. Faizan Haq, started the session with a small presentation about Islam and the present status of Muslims in USA. He also pondered upon the reasons behind the creation of WNYMuslims in 2005 and how successfully the organization is serving, not only the Muslim community of WNY but all the communities as a whole, since then. He further explained the three core values of WNYMulims; Diversity, Awareness & Service and their connection with the teachings of Quran. He mentioned about the popularity and success of our newsletter ‘ The Echo’ by keeping the community well-informed about the local happenings. Later he explained that how WNYMuslims is providing a platform for youth, and Muslim youth in particular by providing several opportunities for their professional, religious and educational growth. In the end he concluded his presentation by emphasizing upon the need of mutual and linear communication rather than parallel or opposite to have a better understating of Islam.
After the presentation refreshments were served, followed by a visit to a local mosque hosted by Islamic Society of Niagara Frontier. Mr. Taha Khan and Ms. Sana Iqbal presented a guided tour of the mosque along with Ms. Farina Mirza & Prof. Fazian Haq, during which several questions were put up and responded there and then.. Later on Imam of the mosque, Imam Khalilullah joined the group and answered some relevant questions of the delegates.
The evening ended at a healthy discussion on Interreligious Community Building, it was indeed a learning experience for both sides. Such dialogues strengthen not only communal harmony but also promotes inter-cultural understanding.