The tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. has again brought the issue of terrorism to the forefront. So far Canada has been very fortunate to have been spared such an ordeal. However, this doesn't mean we should become complacent. The fanatics with twisted minds who choose to engage in the despicable acts of terrorism live in their own fantasyland and are likely to use/misuse religion to justify their insane actions. Their actions can be attributed mainly to fanaticism and intolerance.
Every community, religion and culture has a vast majority of adherents who are peace-loving, law-abiding citizens and great role models. At the same time, there are fanatics and fringe elements in every community who will go to any length to impose their own misguided and extremist ideology on others. In this context, blaming the entire community, religion or race for the actions of a few is not only inappropriate but also unproductive.
In order to counter fanaticism/ extremism/terrorism, all of us need to be more proactive in creating mutual respect, understanding and awareness. Our different levels of government are doing everything within their means to keep their citizens safe. However, it is also incumbent upon each one of us to do our part in this regard. Richmond is a great example of this.
This Child of the Fraser can take great pride in doing just that. Over the years, our city council, staff, as well as many agencies and people have worked tirelessly promoting intercultural harmony in the community. Citizens of Richmond can be proud of the harmonious relationship between people of diverse faiths, cultures and beliefs. The latest example of this was on Sunday, Sept. 11 when a local church undertook a commendable initiative with respect to the 9/11 tragedy.
To pay tribute to the victims of 9/11, St. Alban's Anglican Church, under the leadership of its rector Margaret Cornish, organized an inter-faith service. Participants included representatives of different faiths including Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism. It was a wonderful experience to see people of different faiths share their perspective of the 9/11 tragedy and its aftermath.
In addition to praying for the departed souls, the service was also an excellent way to promote inter cultural/faith harmony. All of the resource people on this somber occasion emphasized the importance of learning from and about each other. This is the best way to build bridges between people of different faiths and cultures. Initiatives like this go a long way in bringing people of diverse backgrounds together.