A team of four members from Coexister, a youth-led interfaith movement based in France and a URI Cooperation Circle (member organization), shares some observations and experiences from New Zealand, which they visited as part of their ongoing 8-month tour of the world. Organized and led every two years by 4 young people of different faith backgrounds, the Coexister Interfaith Tour allows young leaders to experience and learn about different traditions, to forge friendships with people of different beliefs, and to act as bridges between innovative projects in different countries which use interfaith cooperation as a tool to build peace around the world.
As with previous Interfaith Tours (this is the fourth), URI Cooperation Circles in different countries will be helping to host the team as they travel, and the host groups will share their work and experience with the traveling Interfaith Tour members.
Learn more about the Interfaith Tour at its website.
A message from the four travelers, Matt, Floraine, Abderrahim, Adèle and Vincent:
Through our 19 days in New Zealand:
- We understood the meaning of resilience with Imam Ibrahim, who witnessed the Christchurch terrorist attack.
- We remembered the meaning of solidarity and friendship by talking with Sarah and Masooma, who met after the attack and who are today promoting simple and authentic friendship.
- We talked about living together, about feminism and environment in the same conversation with Ivica Gregurec, Reverend of the Anglican Church.
- We met with the government to hear their action plan to respond to the attack on the Muslim community.
- We listened to Paul Morris who explained that non-believers have mobilised themselves very widely to participate in solidarity actions after Christchurch, and that today they play an important role in bringing communities together.
- We shared enough with Georges, Jocelyn, Judith and John, our adoptive grandparents, to realize the need to carry our struggles with all generations in order to be much stronger!
- We stayed with Kate and Rob, two activists for nuclear disarmament who fought for New Zealand to become one of the first countries without nuclear weapons, relying in particular on religious leaders.
- During our 19 days in New Zealand, we heard Muslims, Jews, Christians, non-believers, Maori and Pākehā say that they are proud to be New Zealanders while remaining clear about the challenges they face in making their society more just and inclusive.