On the initiative of Weekly Press Pakistan news service, a fourth Muslim – Jewish dialogue meeting will take place in Toronto, Canada on September 9th.
The dialogue is comprised of sessions of group discussions between Jews and non-Arab Muslims, geared towards the boost of people-to-people dialogue. The meeting is for adults as well as for teenagers, who will meet in separate groups. The meetings are designed to provide an opportunity to meet new friends and remove stereotypes. The demand from potential registrants for the coming session is reportedly high, including six requests from Pakistan-based Muslim journalists who want to attend.
Forty Muslims and Jews participated in the last meeting which took place in April. The two hour meeting involved men and women convening in four small work groups. The Muslims, on their part, stressed the difference between Arbi (Arab) and Ajmi (non-Arab) Muslims, and the positive attitudes of the latter toward Israel. The participants from both sides talked about the importance of tolerance and mutual respect, as well as the importance of confronting stereotypes. They explored topics such as spirituality, what makes for a good person, and what is necessary for enlightened collaboration between the two religions.
Khaleel Siddiqui, a senior Pakistani-Canadian journalist, stated during the last meeting: “The frank discussions, I hope, will open a new chapter in Jewish – Muslim relations. I believe that the misunderstanding between the two communities will be ended. Real Muslims are not terrorists and enemies of the Jewish people. Judaism and Islam have the same source – the religion of Abraham. Our God is one; we have similar religious instructions regarding many issues.” Another participant commented: “I am glad to be part of another very successful session of Jewish-Muslim Toronto Dialogue. It was very friendly, and intellectuals from both sides exchanged their thoughts. We also talked about what one idea or thought each can bring to the table which can help resolve present problems in the world.”