Freedom of Religion and Belief has had a positive impact on promoting interfaith tolerance and has gone a long way in cementing the interfaith culture of Freedom of Religion and Belief (FoRB). Freedom of Religion and Belief and interfaith dialogue are essential and integral to the realization of peaceful and just societies.
In Kenya Interfaith Youth in Mombasa, Nairobi and Kwale have had capacity-building sessions on inter-faith tolerance and relations. The youth in Mombasa and Kwale have held self-driven ‘Welcoming the Other’ initiatives during their worship days in an endeavour to promote the culture of interfaith relations and tolerance. In Kwale County through interfaith sessions, the youth have held activities that have brought together different faiths and have been able to address issues that are affecting them as youth in the counties. Diverse religious actors, including youth, can and need to play an important role in this process, as change makers their voices must be heard as highlighted by some of the youth in Kwale, Mombasa and Nairobi Counties:
“As an interfaith youth, I am actively engaged in promoting peace, conserving the environment, and fostering interfaith understanding in my own platforms and spaces. I promote dialogue and understanding by organizing and participating in interfaith dialogues, discussions, and workshops to foster understanding and respect among people of different faiths. These platforms provide opportunities for individuals to share their beliefs, values, and experiences, leading to greater empathy and cooperation. In collaborating with other faith-based organizations, I actively seek partnerships with other faith-based organizations to work together on common goals. By joining forces, we can amplify our efforts and create a more significant impact in promoting peace, environmental conservation, and interfaith understanding. I leverage social media platforms to share educational content, personal experiences, and inspiring stories related to peace, environmental conservation, and interfaith dialogue. This helps reach a wider audience and engage with individuals from diverse backgrounds. By actively engaging in these activities, I strive to create a positive impact in my own platforms and spaces, fostering a more peaceful and sustainable world while promoting interfaith understanding and cooperation.” – Hafsa Mohammed, Inter-Religious Council Kwale Interfaith Youth
“As a Mombasa interfaith youth am mostly, active in environmental matters as of now we are running a campaign on #Noplasticpollution which is discouraging companies which are using plastic products. Also, in our Sunday youth church meetings, we talk about emerging issues in our country and mostly the ongoing discussion on peaceful dialogue. Leaving together as one in harmony regardless of our different religions.” – Charles Nelvin, Mombasa Interfaith Youth
“Kwale interfaith youth network has held a series of sports and beach cleanup events. As interfaith youth, I am actively advocating for environmental conservation, I commemorated #worldenvironmentday and #worldoceansday by joining hands with various stakeholders in the county to carry out a major beach cleanup in Diani Beach. I call upon each one of us to be part of the change in ensuring we practice proper waste management to beat pollution and plastic pollution. As a youth, we collaborate with Religious leaders and other stakeholders such as Diani Beach youth cleaning, Diani holidays, Kwale recyclers, and the Kwale County government. As a youth I participate in activities that sensitize on the importance of interfaith cohesion among ourselves and participate in games that emphasise the importance of teamwork and the need each to work together in unity to have our voices heard.” – Lorraine Katoni, Inter-Religious Council Kwale Interfaith Youth
“After #JISRA training, I have learnt that when it comes to our faith, even if we have different faiths, we all live in one world and we should respect each other’s faith. This is the concept I have carried through because I have now interacted with more Muslims and other faiths than I did when growing up – thanks to the training and sensitizations especially ‘Welcoming the Other’ activities. I hosted Nairobi Interfaith Youth in a ‘Welcoming the Other’ event which was held at one of the Catholic Churches in Dandora – the interfaith dialogue has helped unite and cement collaboration with youth even from different faiths. I now spread a peace message as one, telling them we can come from different faiths but one peace” – Mary Snyder, Inter-Religious Council Nairobi Interfaith Youth
“By joining forces, we can amplify our efforts and create a more significant impact in promoting peace, environmental conservation, and interfaith understanding. I leverage social media platforms to share educational content, personal experiences, and inspiring stories related to peace, environmental conservation, and interfaith dialogue.”
“On interfaith, I have learnt a lot including how to relate with other religions including Muslim brothers and sisters without looking down upon them on how they worship their God. Initially, I would see youth in kanzus and avoid them, thinking they are not up to good and now, there are no misconceptions or stereotypes that include likening them to terrorists.” – Nicholas Omiah ‘Mzalendo’, Inter-Religious Council Embakasi Interfaith Youth.
By Mary Ndulili