Peace should prevail in our communities; was the message delivered at Blue Hall in Khayelitsha, when the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamat in conjunction with Ihlumelo Lokhanyo organisation held a peace symposium on Saturday March 9.
Various community leaders and organisations were among the stakeholders who attended the event.
These organisations concurred that there was more that must be done to close the gap between the different racial groups.
Representative of Ahmidiyya, Zaid Ebrahim, said it was true that the world had already been divided in so many ways, whether politically, socially, culturally or religiously.
He said presently these divisions resulted in hatred, with one race believing or felt they were superior to another race.
Mr Ebrahim said some people used religion to divide people but that should not be so.
He firmly believes that religion should not be the cause for further division. Their duty, he said, should be how to reduce divisions and bring people together despite their differences.
He admitted that differences would always be there but they should realise and understand that difference were minimal.
“So we believe that these peace symposium are important. These symposiums are not only interfaith gatherings, but indeed also inter-cultural and inter-political.
It is held so that people can come to know one another from various backgrounds, sharing with one another, recognising one another and respecting the religions of one another.
“We believe that for the establishment of peace in our world and peace in our communities, we must focus on our common principles,” he said.
Mr Ebrahim pointed out that one of the aims of such gatherings was to provide a platform and opportunity to allow people to share their ideas and wisdom.
Community activist and founder of Ihlumelo Lokhanyo organisation, Donald Vusumzi Puza, said the key mission of the gathering was to bring the community together. He said the harsh reality was that people were divided and through the event they wanted to instill key values of peace and its principles among the community of Khayelitsha. He said there were many challenges facing the country and to overcome them the country must first be united before they could tackle them head-on.
Mr Puza believes for the nation to grow there must be peace within communities.
He said such gatherings enabled the community to erase misconceptions about other religious groups and promote oneness and unity. “We want to strengthen the ideals and values of peace in our communities.
“We want to instill love for each other. We were created by God but we are the ones who separate ourselves,” he said.
Ward councillor, Xoliswa Peter, said such events should be organised more often as it educated ordinary citizens. Ms Peter said the message of peace should be preached every day so that people understood the benefits of creating a peaceful society.
She said leaders from different spheres of the community should promote peace.
Bishop Sampoti Mpondo said peace was something that people are suppose to live and strive for.