Faith Changemakers: Affirming Human Dignity, Justice, and Freedom for All
Event | December 2023
Opening session of the 2023 Interreligious Convention co-organized by the Peacemakers Network and Mensen Meteen Missie, Muhammadiyah, ACT Alliance, YMCA, and Religions for Peace.
The 2023 Inter-religious Convention, co-hosted by the Peacemakers Network along with partners World YWCA, Act Alliance, ACT Church of Sweden, ACT Ubumbano, Faith to Action Network, Mensen met een missie, and Muhammadiyah, took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from December 4-6, 2023. Themed “Faith Changemakers: Affirming Human Dignity, Justice, and Freedom for All,” the convention featured main plenary sessions aligned with this theme, along with parallel sessions focusing on three sub-themes: advancing women’s rights and gender justice, faith partnering for justice and peace, and co-creating freedom of belief and inclusive communities. The three-day Interreligious convention brought together over 100 participants from around the globe to increase their awareness and knowledge, providing a platform for them to network and build partnerships with other activists and peacebuilders.
Workshop on ‘Alternative Narratives for Inter-religious Tolerance and Peaceful Coexistence to Counter Polarization.’ During this session, religious actors across seven countries shared experiences and lessons learned on their engagement with communities and other stakeholders in developing and promoting alternative messages for inter-religious tolerance and addressing hate speech and extremism. Moderated by Dr. Mohamed Elsanousi.
Within the subtheme of “Faith Partnering for Justice and Peace,” the Peacemakers Network and Mensen Meteen Missie organized a workshop, titled “Alternative Narratives for Inter-religious Tolerance and Peaceful Co-existence to Counter Polarization,” aimed to facilitate an exchange of experiences and lessons learned among religious actors from diverse contexts. The workshop supported dialogue between grassroots actors on their engagements with communities and other stakeholders in developing and promoting alternative messages for inter-religious tolerance while addressing hate speech and extremism.
Religious actors, including youth and women, play a pivotal role in mitigating the global rise of religious intolerance, which fuels intra- and inter-religious tensions, radicalization, and polarization. Their voices are critical to construct alternative narratives that dismantle religious misinformation, counter hate speech, and promote tolerance and peaceful co-existence. The workshop started with the presentation of three case studies, exploring alternative narratives for inter-religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence. Moreover, the case studies highlighted the contributions of youth, women, and religious actors working with government and security sectors. Following the presentations, workshop participants engaged in a roundtable discussion centered around three key topics:
- Youth involved in alternative narratives – online and offline platforms.
- Alternative narratives from a gender perspective by Women of Faith Networks.
- Lobbying and Advocacy: Engaging government, regional bodies, and the security sector in alternative narratives.
These discussions resulted in a series of recommendations which the Peacemakers Network and Mensen Meteen Missie will expand further by organizing two additional workshops to draft a policy brief to be shared with donors and other relevant stakeholders.
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