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Not in God’s Name: Canada Faiths Reject Violence

TORONTO – Sending a unified message against terrorism, Canadian religious leaders spoke out against violence committed in the name of religions at an event held earlier this week at York University.

“Most violence, conflicts and wars have nothing to do with religion whatsoever,” said Muneeb Nasir, Executive Director of the Cordoba Centre for Civic Engagement and Leadership, reported on Friday, February 5.

“They are about power, territory, and glory, things that are secular, even profane.”

Nasir was speaking during an event held at York University on Wednesday, February 3.

Titled, ‘Not in God’s Name: Religions Against Religious Violence’, the event was organized by a multi-faith coalition of York University student clubs including LOGOS Christian Community, Hillel at York, Islamic Arts of York and Intercultural Dialogue Institute York U.

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Along with Nasir, speakers included Rabbi Aaron Greenberg, Canadian Director of the Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus and Rev. Damian MacPherson, Director for Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto.

Representing the three monotheistic faiths, faith leaders spoke from their own faith traditions on why religiously motivated violence is not condoned.

“Religions have internal resources that resist violence in ‘the name of God’,” Nasir said.

“For people of Faith, religion gives meaning to life and teaches people to love one another, cooperate and collaborate with one another, and work together to achieve common goals for the common good.”

Nasir added that the Qur’an was clear in rejecting violence against others, asserting that all human beings were created from Adam.

“According to the Qur’an, we were created from a single soul,” Muneeb Nasir noted.

“This verse teaches us that our common humanity precedes our differences.”

Muslims represent 3.2% of Canada’s total population.

Muslims are the fastest growing religious community in Canada, according to the country’s statistical agency, Statistics Canada.

Canada’s Muslim population increased by 82 percent over the past decade – from about 579,000 in 2001 to more than 1 million in 2011.