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Afghan Project

"The culture of peace is based on the principles established in the Charter of the United Nations and on respect for human rights, democracy and tolerance, the promotion of development, education for peace, the free flow of information and the wider participation of women as an integral approach to preventing violence and conflicts, and efforts aimed at the creation of conditions for peace and its consolidation." (A/Res/52/13, 15 January 1998, para.2)

"A Message and A Mosque"

Canada holds special status in the international community as a country where its people are accorded acceptance and respect regardless of religious, racial, ethnic, linguistic or national origin. This fundamental Canadian value has recently come under tremendous strain.

As governments employ legislative and other initiatives to deal with security concerns, many Canadians are thinking about and praying for peace. Given our unique position among nations, Canadians are expected to provide leadership. It is out of concern for peace in Afghanistan and around the world that the idea of a unifying international peace development project was born.

A culture of peace requires an understanding of the principles of tolerance, justice, human rights, equality, solidarity, freedom and democracy. It also necessarily involves building relationships, based on pluralism, among people of different religious, racial, cultural, ethnic, linguistic, national and other backgrounds.

Food, clothing and dollar aid will be flowing into Afghanistan over this winter but Afghans in Canada are pointing to the necessity of empowering Afghans themselves through employing local citizens in rebuilding projects this spring. In helping to rebuild Afghan community life, the organizers of the Canadian International Peace Project hope to utilize local trades and suppliers.

A group of churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and gurdwaras in partnership with others are preparing just such a model of relief activity. Working with Afghans, international non-governmental organizations and the Canadian government, the organizers of Canadian International Peace Project will identify an appropriate area in need in Afghanistan with the aim to rebuild a shattered community.

The employment provided and the materials purchased locally in Afghanistan will support the reconstruction of a mosque damaged in the war. The mosque will be part of an International Peace and Development Centre that will provide educational, health, humanitarian, social, cultural and other assistance to the Afghan people with a focus on the needs of women and children. As well as being intensely practical, the project has dramatic symbolic value. Other possible dimensions of this peace and humanitarian gesture are being considered.

In helping to rebuild Afghan community life on a multi-ethnic model, the Canadian International Peace Project organizers hope that the Canadian symbolism of five representative Christian denominations (Roman Catholic, Anglican, United Church of Canada, Presbyterian and Lutheran) and five other major world religions (Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist) cooperating, and working with others, makes an important statement to the people of Afghanistan and the rest of the world. The message is that people of diverse cultures, faiths, ethnic and racial origins can actually live together in harmony and support each other's spiritual and social aspirations. The message is to be delivered in a form that is not only respectful of Afghan society, but that empowers individuals and families to support themselves and each other.

The ten congregations, a high school and Concordis (a Canadian non-governmental organization dedicated to peace and international conflict resolution) are acting as the initial motivating force, raising funds, inviting others to join in and seeking to channel business, schools, government, civic and other organizations and individuals into this program as a model for other agencies that are interested in multi-dimensional and holistic approaches to international peace and development. The goal of the Project is to raise an estimated $1 million dollars to reconstruct the mosque and build the Canadian International Peace and Development Centre.

This unique and holistic approach to international peace and development is unprecedented.

Children from Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths were among the first to make contributions to this peace and development initiative.

The Canadian International Peace Project was launched at the annual Eid celebration at Queen's Park on December 21st, 2001 hosted by the Association of Progressive Muslims of Ontario and attended by a number of distinguished guests including The Honourable Roy McMurtry - Chief Justice of Ontario, Archbishop Terence Finlay of the Anglican Church, Imams, members of the Provincial and Federal Legislatures and foreign dignitaries. The Project has since attracted extraordinary interest. It has been featured in the national and local television and print media.

Your financial contribution to this international peace initiative can be made payable to - Lansing U.C. - C.I.P.P. and mailed to: Canadian International Peace Project, P.O. Box 30088 , 1027 Finch Avenue W. Toronto, Ontario M3J 3L6 Canada. A tax-deductible receipt will be mailed to the return address provided. We thank you in anticipation of your support.

For more information please e-mail us at cipp@canadianipp.org

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