‘Peace cannot happen without social justice ’- leaders

Reverend Natalie Simons-Arendse and Sarah Oliver from the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative shared their experience of being part of the Parliament of the Worlds Religions.

In commemoration of World Interfaith Harmony Week, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of South Africa and the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative hosted a gathering to discuss interfaith work and caring for the environment.

The event was held at the Baitul Awwal Masjid in Athlone on Thursday February 7.

Guest speakers included Reverend Natalie Simons-Arendse and Sarah Oliver from the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative. The pair discussed their experience at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, which happened in Canada last year. They also spoke about their work with Marlene Silbert’s Youth Interfaith Intercultural Programme.

Ms Oliver said the main message they wanted to get across was what interfaith work means in the context of South Africa.

“Peace cannot happen without social justice. We went there for a purpose – to present our work on interfaith, and the experience gave us a sense of how people see South Africa and Cape Town,” Ms Oliver said.

Reverend Simons-Arendse said 7 500 people from across the world attended the gathering, but that access to this event was limited, as many cannot afford the cost to travel. This, she said, was a challenge in terms of inclusion.

Another speaker, Reverend Rachel Mash, who is from Green Anglicans, gave a talk on the”Capetonian perspective on climate change”.

“Cape Town is unique as a global city, because we were able to cut down our water usage by 50% during the drought. We thank God for the rain. However, during that time, many agricultural and tourism workers lost their jobs. Water is sacred and a gift from God.