Intercultural Dialogue Institute introduces the documentary "Love is a Verb" and how it relates to IDI's mission of answering the question: how can citizens of the world live in peace and harmony?
The. Ven. David Selzer, Executive Archdeacon, Diocese of Ottawa and Dr. Catherine Clifford, Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Saint Paul University begin post-documentary discussion. Selzer says the film shows the "gift of difference rather than barrier wall" in documentary highlighting interfaith dialogue.
Selzer emphasizes the similarities in Islam, Judaism and Christianity and they are all "about tolerance and embracing others."
Selzer says the gift of relationship in a community is powerful. How to make a difference in the world? "Don't do it by yourself," he says, adding how this is the essence of Gulen's Hizmet movement.
"I have a friend who survived the Bosnian war who survived from eating the grass.." comments young boy in the audience. Heads turn and eyebrows raise from audience members. Selzer says it's important to listen to these stories although hard to understand.
Clifford talks about new atheism, says she it's troubling that many think "it's more intelligent to be an atheist than a person of faith," comparing atheism to propaganda. She says it's easy to say religion can cause violence when really it's about interfaith peace. Selzer agrees many people are firm about being an atheist but he emphasized the importance of being open-minded, regardless of beliefs.
Question: How does religion bring communities together? Clifford says the Gulen movement is "doing all the right things" to bring people together on basic levels of friendship, providing shelters, hospitals in conflict zones etc. She says it's just as important to share a meal together with colleagues as analyzing theological texts.
Carleton university student audience member says her friend group doesn't discuss faith and it's not part of dialogue. Clifford says there needs to be more discussion in schools and law enforcement agencies so that people are sharing faiths openly and becomes less of a taboo subject. Selzer says many of us grew up "with people of our culture." The challenge of today, he says, is how do you change things for the better?
"In Ottawa, there's no way you can go one day without seeing people of different cultures," says one student audience member. Attending a Catholic high school, wearing a hijab, she says Ottawa is diverse and inclusive in various faiths. Selzer says there's a difference between being tolerant and respectful and it's important in a diverse society.
President of IDI Ottawa Vusal Babashov thanks speakers and encourages audience members to continue the discussion on the Gulen movement and interfaith dialogue.