An initiative has begun in Port Elizabeth which bodes well for the future. It comes in the form of an informal, inter-religious forum bringing together the Rabbi of PE, a Bishop, an atheist, Muslim Ulama and several intellectuals including politicians, university lecturers and the like.

The initiative started in 2006 and several meetings have been held since then. Topics covered include fundamentalism and spirituality. One of the encouraging results of this initiative is the opening of a channel of communication between different religious groups. It also serves as a platform to dispel myths and misconceptions about Islam in particular.

Non-Muslim delegates show a keen interest in wanting to know more about Islam, which to many is an unknown quantity. An offshoot of these meetings is a joint talk held at the University (UPE) on May 23 which saw a Reverend, an atheist and the Mufti present their faith’s spirituality to the students. A talk for general public was held at Collegiate Hall on May 30 with the Rabbi present as well.
Initiatives of this type are in the spirit of Da’wah or passing on the message of Islam. This initiative is in the arena of intellectuals and theologians, but all Muslims can adapt this approach to their particular field and devise strategies to pass on Islam’s message to those in their circle. It also serves to strengthen a Muslim’s faith in Islam, seeing its beauty and perfection when compared to the shortcomings in other religions. It helps to build a healthier, suspicion-free society when misconceptions are dispelled.

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