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Festival of the Faiths designed to open dialogue for stronger community

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The 10th annual ‘Festival of the Faiths’ is set for Sunday and religious leaders said these events are key opportunities to create open dialogue between various groups and a stronger community as a result.

Charlie Wiles, the Executive Director of the Center for Interfaith Cooperation said, “Our individual faith journeys really inspire us to work hard to bring more cooperation into our community to help solve some of the challenging problems that we are witnessing.”

The festival will have an ‘Interfaith Dialogue Session’ hosted by Mayor Joe Hogsett. This event will allow young people from the Baha’i, Hindu, and Muslim religions to discuss issues important to them and learn about their peer’s traditions.

Wiles said, “It helps us to become friends and be more inclined to work together to help solve problems and hopefully void some of the misunderstandings that are out there.”

After the arrests were made in Filanwaa’s murder, Imam Ahmed Alamine said the beginning of the end of the violence in this city is more communication between various groups.

“We need to start talking to one another, regardless of our faith. We need to have an open and honest conversation about the structural issues,” Alamine said. “Most of the time we talk about the symptoms, we don’t talk about the root cause, and honestly, the root cause can be addressed through honest and open conversation within the community.”

Wiles said so much can be solved when people unite instead of looking at what sets them apart.

“We really want to build empathy. We want to build that human connection. It humanizes the other when we sit down and have a conversation with intention and with people of different faith backgrounds,” Wiles said. “We think religion is about loving one another and the more we get to know one another the more chances we have to make that love a reality and to address a lot of the problems we face in the community together.”