Symposium Council of Religions
Symposium This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Religions for Peace. To celebrate this legacy of achievement, the Council of Mauritius (CoR), Republic of Mauritius organised a solemn event at the surreal beauty of the picturesque surroundings of l’Aventure du Sucre’, in the district of Pamplemousses. The former Vice President of the Republic, Mr. Paramasivum Barlen Vyapoory, other distinguished guests, eminences, Religious Leaders of different faiths, the third cohorts’ students of ‘Peace and Nation buildings’ (PNB) – course run by the CoR at the University of Mauritius, well-wishers and members of CoR graced the event by their presence. After the Interfaith common prayer, by Council members, the Secretary, Mr. Bashir Nuckchady made a detailed account of the history and achievements of RfP, since its foundation. He stressed that Religious leaders are important factors in shaping individual and collective morality. Therefore, they must work together, and in partnership with other stakeholders to stop man to act as destroyer – destroyer of Peace, destroyer of nature, destroyer of human rights and dignity. Religious leaders must come together as never before and take an active role in making an interfaith dialogue with peace and security as its goal. The Secretary further emphasised that faith plays a dynamic and evolving role in society. Today six billion people, i.e. 85% of the world population are adhered to a faith and trends suggest the number of faith adherents will increase over the next two decades, while the secular population will decrease. Belonging to a religious group implies community and belonging to a set of shared values, in addition to common direction and purpose. People of faith therefore have profound impacts on community mobilisation – for both productive and damaging purposes. The most potent force for change in an individual is the transforming power of faith. He concluded by quoting Ibn Rush, Averroes: “Ignorance leads to fear, fear leads to hatred and hatred leads to violence. That's the equation.” Discussion Dr. Jonathan Ravat, the PRO of CoR, moderated a discussion session on how Religious Leaders and particularly the young Student of PNB can engage in dealing with social issues, locally. The goal of religion is to enable individuals to discover their spiritual identity, how they are tied to a spiritual world that is beyond measurement, to find reconciliation and peace with that spiritual reality and to learn the ways of a spiritual life and embody its teachings in their words, actions and thoughts. The power of faith can impact social issues and shape local perspectives is a fundamental reason why the CoR should engage faith leaders and PNB students within CoR’s activities. Going out from the coziness of the comfort zone to remote villages to address social justice and environmental issues is part of faith. In this regard. The CoR council needs to work to raise awareness about socio-cultural, cross-faith and religious engagement efforts for the purposes of conflict prevention and societal transformation. He suggested that our objective should be to become a counterforce of love and peace to the intolerance and aggression that now prevails in so many of our communities and to build understanding between people of different faiths. To this end CoR needs to move in remote villages to instill the concept of interfaith dialogue, peace building and harmonious living together. Resolution: After discussion the following resolutions were adopted unanimously: To decentralize CoR activities To establish three (3) branches of CoR, at Forest Side, Flacq and Grand Bay To devise course curriculum adaptable to the peoples’ environment and level of understanding To appoint Students from PNB and other Volunteers to run the said branches To include volunteers from local people of the branches. To engage faith communities for educating the rising generations. To enroll parents, teens and people of all age to the course Launching of Annual Report The President of CoR, Father Philippe Goupille made a detailed account of the achievement of CoR throughout the passing year. He stated that the year 2019 has been rich in events and accomplishment, namely the visit of the Pope Francis and the Indian Ocean Games, which contributed enormously for positive peace. While the General Election campaign has proved an impediment for nation building. Launching of our Website The President of CoR, Father Philippe Goupille and the Secretary, Mr. Bashir Nuckchady launched its Website, (https://councilofreligions.org) in the presence of the Vice President of the Republic, Mr. Paramasivum Barlen Vyapoory, and other dignities.
The Secretary Bashir Nuckchady 16 February 2020