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Interfaith Q&A


1.      How:

a.       How: Can we start a CC in a country where no one knows about URIE and CCs? 

We all must do what URI San Francisco did in April 1997 when they introduced United Religions Initiative in Europe. 

  • Bring together existing grass rooted inter religious dialogue organizations and/or people motivated to join the new network. 
     
  • Organize the gathering in partnership with URI Europe and local people:

    •  interfaith key persons,
    • attendees from a URI Europe conference,
    • CC representatives of neighbouring region/same language, ...
       
  • The content of the meeting should be:
    • Appreciative Inquiry,
    • World Café,
    • History URI(E)
    • PPP, ... .

     (Patrick Hanjoul) Facilitated by Deepak Naik. 


b.      How: Can CC members become sustainable and keep motivated?

The answer to this question:

  • keep as strong as possible in touch with them;
     
  • give them the best follow up you can offer;
     
  • offer them a basket full of good practices;
     
  • inform them by telephone, email, news letter, website, ...
     
  • invite them to local interfaith events and URI Europe conferences,
     
  • and most important: meet with them - have contact with them.

 (Patrick Hanjoul) 

c.       How can we draw public attention to interfaith activities and raise awareness?

In secular Europe interfaith can be attractive to the public, to acknowledge that spirituality and faith are factors to promote cooperation, justice and peace.To raise public attention you can use public events, such as interfaith peace prayers, festivals or markets, interfaith panels or discussions, and interfaith walks. Visuals such as such as posters, e.g. the golden rule poster, colourful religious clothes or flags create attention. People also like to experience sounds and music. You can use the attention for current conflicts and explain why interfaith work has an impact for solutions. 

(Karimah Stauch)

 d.      How can we raise awareness of the URI network?

URI connects activists around the world. A space for learning and inspiration is co-created. The URI network strengthens visibility and impact of its members.  The members’ combined efforts create momentum. Please register your own interfaith initiative as a URI Cooperation Circle (CC) and then use the URI logo in your activities. Your help is very precious to us: please get involved with interfaith and URI and act as a URI ambassador. Please talk about it and encourage others to link to this movement as well. Spread the word by linking your websites to URIs’, by supporting URI on Facebook or Twitter or in other ways. With your help the impact of the network and its parts will grow and increasingly promote the common good, peace, justice and healing. 

(Karimah Stauch) 

e.       How: To raise and strengthen the message of interfaith believers on the international platforms?

There are various international platforms for raising awareness and increasing impact of interfaith activities, such as the

  • UN International Day of Peace on September 21 each year,
     
  • World Interfaith Harmony Week during the first seven days of February,
     
  • Charter for Compassion,
     
  • Golden Rule Day on April 5.

These initiatives raise the profile of your local events. Through your participation you likewise strengthen their impact and a win-win situation is created. URI supports theses platforms and will publicise your activities through URI’s websites, newsletters and dossiers (newsdesk[at]uri[dot]org AND, kstauch[at]uri[dot]org). URI has a staff person at the UN headquarters in New York who is glad to promote your activities with the UN representatives of your country (MBWillard[at]aol[dot]com).

(Karimah Stauch) 

f.       How to attract the media to inter-religious activity?

The media is naturally drawn to stories or events that have controversy, fear and danger… Our story is the opposite – so begin by accepting that we have to sell ourselves. To keys to success are; produce a press release, well in advance of the medias timetable ideally 2 weeks and build relationships which takes your time, effort and patience, however when a relationship has been built, the work becomes much easier, when the relationship has matured journalist will contact you for news.

(Deepak Naik)

 g.      How to attract the media to URI?

The media likes action, colour, music, dance and young people. Photographs, sales, newspapers, music or debate is good for radio and movement for television. The beauty of URI is every Co-operation Circle is autonomous – work within the spirit of URI Charter and you can make your decisions to suit the local media and the local audience. Remember the key to URI success is action, make things happen and have fun – the media will be naturally drawn to these qualities.

(Deepak Naik)

 h.      How to recruit members to cooperation circles using as example a person from the Muslim religion?

The duty to reflect the local religious diversity as members in cooperation is desirable but not a condition – so don’t worry too much about the members of all faiths in a cooperation circle. Remember also minority faith members such as those from Islam in Hungary or Hindus in France, or Christians in Turkey are small in number and like any community there are only a few members who are interested, committed and confident to participate in civil society, the few that exist are often over committed and therefore you are required to be patient, identify one or two people who are new, encourage and motivate these people to participate in activities and events, naturally they will attract others who are friends and family.

(Deepak Naik) 

i.        How: Increase youth participation in interfaith dialogue and how can we keep them motivated to be active in URI?

Young people often feel marginalized, misunderstood, and underrepresented in society. URI can offer a platform to gather likeminded Youth around service projects by empowering them to create their own groups in the form of founding new Cooperation Circles. They will be fully autonomous and can determine their own action agenda in alignment with the Purpose, Preamble and Principles of URI. The international network and knowledge exchange is very attractive as well due to the possibility of connecting with people from across the globe from diverse backgrounds.

(Patrick Nickisch) 

j.        How: Can we develop skills to inspire others, especially young people?

The best skills which we can develop are those that are embodied in the Purpose, Preamble and Principles of URI. Living up to these standards will make any member of URI very attractive as friends and as professional partners. Especially the cultivation of  respect, tolerance and genuine interest in the other person are essential in our interfaith work. Embracing the ‘Other’ as brothers and sisters, and to open our ears for their needs, interests  will inspire others to join our URI community, like the Youth as they need people who truly listen and care for them.

(Patrick Nickisch)

 k.      How: As a inter religious movement overcome fear as the basic root for egoism, fundamentalism and conflict?

I share in the belief that to overcome fear of someone or something one has to get to know this someone or something; give due respect and share and cooperate in the struggle for the best possible way of living together. All of us have to share this one planet Earth, we have only this one... 

(Sheikh Bashir) 

l.        How: Bless and become blessed?

I am answering this important question, I believe, in the spirit of all our religious traditions. To ask for blessings is to ask for good ideas, deeds and/or provisions. The “Lord” provides all the necessities of/for life. Whenever someone asks / prays for these provisions not only for oneself, but for someone else or for all humanity, as it is my habit of praying, then it may mean to “bless someone or someithing”.

 (Sheikh Bashir)

"We need to be the change we wish to see in the world" - Mahatma Gandhi

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