Dublin City Inter-Faith Forum workshop on Religious Pluralism.

January 15, 2014


A one day inter-faith workshop was held on the 28th September 2011 in the Dublin City Council.

The event was a fundamental part of the on-going work to develop an inter-faith forum to promote integration in Dublin City. The Dublin City Council, Office for Integration, was running the workshop.

Religious Leaders from various different faiths participated in the workshop. From the Islamic Community in Ireland the following Islamic Centre’s were represented: Al-Mustafa IECC, Clonskeigh Mosque, Islamic Foundation of Ireland and the Hussaini Centre.

The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Inderjet Singh Bhogal, OBE, Leader of the Corrymeela Community. Dr. Bhogal was the CEO of the Yorkshire and Humber Faiths Forum from 2005-2001.

Registration of the event started at 9:45am. The program started with a welcome by Gerry Folan (Dublin City Council).

The welcome speech was followed by the first keynote on religious pluralism by the Archbishop of Dublin Dr. Diarmuid Martin. The Archbishop of Dublin highlighted the need to work together between the religious faiths.

Sheikh Dr. Muhammad Umar Al-Qadri (Imam Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre) delivered the final keynote on religious pluralism.

Sheikh Al-Qadri argued that religious pluralism enables a country made up of different faiths to exist without sectarian warfare in an atmosphere of mutual understanding or acceptance. Sheikh Al-Qadri also mentioned that religious pluralism has two aspects; Intra-religious pluralism and Inter-religious pluralism. In order to succeed in inter-religious pluralism we first need to succeed in intra-religious pluralism.

Sheikh Al-Qadri said that it is the duty of the leaders of the congregation to create mutual understanding and acceptance to other religions. The congregation looks up to their religious leaders and trusts them. When leaders will send a message of unity and acceptance the congregation will follow. Sheikh Al-Qadri suggested that practical steps be taken on grass root level to eliminate prejudice and hatred by inviting leaders of other faiths in the mosques, churches, synagogues and temples. Leaders should be invited to speak and not to preach off course. Speak on commonalities like Peace and Security. Sheikh Al-Qadri also informed the participants that he has already taken this step as he invites every year leaders of other faiths to the Mawlid-un-Nabi Festival in Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre.

The lunch was served after the 2 key note lectures by the Religious leaders of the Muslim and the Christian Faith.

After the lunch the participants were divided in small groups were they discussed how their faith can positively contribute to an inclusive community.

In the concluding session Dr. Bhogal asked all the leaders to write one word, which they think is important for an inclusive community, on paper and stick it on the wall. This was a very motivating exercise and was very enlightening for all participants. There was a lot of wealth and wisdom in these words.

The words participants wrote were:

  • Unity
  • Integration
  • Kindness
  • Compassion
  • Openness
  • Dialogue
  • Equality
  • Justice
  • Contribution
  • Together
  • All
  • Exchange

The workshop ended at 4pm and a new date was set for the next meeting.

On behalf of the Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre we would like to thank the Dublin City Council and all other organizers for organizing this important workshop and for inviting our religious leader Sheikh Dr. Umar Al-Qadri to speak on the workshop to represent the Irish Muslim Community.