Paris, France—Nonviolent resistance was the topic of the eighth interfaith scripture reading held by UPF’s Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD).
For its meeting on October 10, 2021, IAPD-France chose the theme "Satyagraha: When Love Makes the Revolution," in recognition of the United Nations’ International Day of Non-Violence.
Satyagraha, which in Sanskrit means “holding firmly to the truth,” is a form of nonviolent resistance that was practiced by Mahatma Gandhi as he led the Indian independence movement.
The “live” broadcast of the meeting on Zoom had over 100 connections from 25 countries, with an undetermined number also watching the event on Facebook. In addition, nearly 20 participants met “in person” at two locations: the Espace Barrault in Paris and the Espace Culture et Paix in Lyon.
In preparation for the meeting, IAPD sent excerpts from sacred texts on this theme to all those who registered.
The moderator was Soraya Ayouch, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor, a member of the Fondation Al Moultaqa, Tarika Kadiria Boutchichya, and a member of the sponsoring committee of Dialogue and Alliance.
After each sacred text was read, a representative of different faith tradition offered a comment:
- Judaism: The text, taken from the Book of Samuel, was read and briefly commented on by Tirzi Martin of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (standing in for Rabbi Gabriel Hagai, who could not attend because of health reasons).
- Christianity: The text of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:9-10) was commented on by Pastor Jean-Claude Girondin, a doctor of sociology, pastor of the Multicultural Mennonite Church of Villeneuve-le-Comte, and the author of the book Martin Luther King: The Dream of the “Beloved Community.”
- Islam: Verses 33 to 36 of Sura 41 of the Qur'an were very clearly commented on by Anne-Sophie Monsinay, co-founder of Voices of an Enlightened Islam and the imam of the Simorgh Mosque.
The duo Naren and Sarada performed a song written by the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore titled "Avalokiteshvara."
There was then a question-and-answer session coordinated by Laurent Ladouce, a UPF research fellow. Jean-François Moulinet, coordinator of IAPD-France’s Dialogue and Alliance interfaith forum, offered closing remarks, and Venerable Michel Thao Chan, the co-founder and president of the organization Cercle de Réflexion des Nations, presented some conclusions.
The next meeting was announced for November 7, 2021, with the theme "Living and Dying" on the occasion of All Saints' Day.
Recording of the event: https://youtu.be/kWOmXzVoJuE