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
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.