Respect Each Other’s Faith because We Are Human Beings and Are Created
by One God’
I would like to thank the National Council of YMCAs of Bangladesh (NCYB)
and Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF) for giving me a chance to join
this program, especially thanks to the ICF staff—Max and Bruce—and Jose
from the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY) in Hong Kong. This is
my first international program so it was really a great opportunity for
me. Before joining this program, I was so curious because it’s my first
workshop on this topic and with people from different countries, faiths,
cultures, backgrounds—it was really a beautiful diversity! In this
program, I shared my personal thoughts and feelings and the views of my
organization with my new friends. I hope this program will be helpful to
me and my organization. Everyone was really friendly and helpful.
Bappu Mree, right, shares his
views during the two-week
Diversity in Dialogue workshop in July in Dhaka.
I gained so many things from this School of Peace
(SOP) workshop. I’m working in the Edilpur YMCA of Bangladesh. Thus,
this program was very significant and meaningful for me. We have so many
workshops, trainings, seminars, etc., but Dialogue in Diversity is
different and new for me.
I am from the Garo ethnic community and live in a village. We are a very
few number of people. Many of us are Christians. The majority of people
in Bangladesh are Muslims. We do not have a good relationship with each
other. We have the wrong concept about each other’s faith. Church
leaders are not open minded. Some conservative religious people hate
each other. I think church leaders lead people the wrong way.
Our Garo people live in the forest area. We face so many problems and
challenges. The land issue is one of them. We have no ownership of our
land on which we have been living for more than 1,000 years. The
government decided to build a so-called eco-park in our area, but where
will we go? It’s our land: the land is our mother, our life. The
government notified people to leave this area. We are protesting against
this eco-park. Because of this issue, already some Garo leaders have
been killed by the police, forest guards and terrorists, but there is no
reaction from the police or government. The majority people like to
dominate the minority people so there is a conflict in my area. We want
our rights, justice. After this program, now I think differently.
Conflict never can give a solution. This program changed my mind. I’ve
learned that “cooperation is better than conflict.”
I think it’s possible for transformation but not possible in the short
term. I need to engage more with people, to do more advocacy and
Before this program, I was in my comfort zone, but I should come out of
my comfort zone. Otherwise, it’s not possible to make a peaceful
situation in our community.
Sometimes religious people are misguided by church leaders and a wrong
analysis. People think their religion is best. They make mistakes, but
we forget our identity. Who am I? What’s my identity? We should respect
each other’s faith because we are human beings and are created by one
God. We seek the same goals. Before we can change society, there needs
to be change of oneself. We should do it honestly and sincerely. I think
we need more practice in dialogue.
When I go back to my work, I will try to do something. Building up
interfaith cooperation and relationships are more essential in my
community; it’s more important to dialogue. It will be a long process.
This has been a long journey on the “SOP bus.” I need some suggestions
and technical support. How can I start?