Non-Violence Begins With Me – Interfaith Service during 40 Hours of Prayer

Non-Violence Begins With Me – Interfaith Service during 40 Hours of Prayer

Non-Violence Begins With Me – Interfaith Service during 40 Hours of Prayer

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Non-Violence Begins With Me – Interfaith Service during 40 Hours of Prayer

Representatives of eight faith groups gathered last Saturday, March 4, 2017 to pray for a culture of non-violence in Trinidad and Tobago. They did so during an Interfaith Service hosted by the Movement for Non-Violence Begins With Me at Living Water Community, Frederick Street, Port of Spain.

The service came in the middle of the Movement’s initiative titled 40 Hours of Prayer/40 Days of Action. The former took place during the period March 3-5, while the latter began on Monday March 6, and will culminate with a Peace Rally on April 17.

Br Asim Abdullah, of the Trinidad Muslim League, hailed the promotion of the idea that “non-violence begins with me” as “a powerful strategy for personal and social change”. He told the interfaith gathering that, contrary to what they might have heard or read, Islam sought to create a society in which peace and non-violence were the norms. He added that the word “Islam” was the Arabic word for “peace”.

Delivering the main reflection during the service, Br Asim shared several instances of convergence between the teachings of non-violence and the teachings of Islam. Citing teachings from the Centre for Non-Violence and Social Justice in Philadelphia, United States, and quoting from the Quran, he identified love, patience, self-control and compassion as being at the heart of non-violence and Islam. To support the idea that “non-violence begins with me”, he noted that the Quran taught that God would not change a person’s condition unless the person changed his/her inner self. “We cannot call others to non-violence if we don’t start ourselves,” Br Asim declared, and pledged “unreserved support” for the work of the Movement.  He prayed that God would bless the initiative.

Also praying and speaking in support of non-violence were The Right Rev Annabell Lalla-Ramkelawan, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, Sister Jasmine of the Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga Centre, Dr Ellis Burris of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is, Brahmacharini Akalka, student of Chinmaya Mission, Mikkel Trestrail of Companions of the Transfigured Christ, Dr Gautam Tewari of Sathya Sai International Organisation, and Sister Yvette Maynard of Western Union of Spiritual Baptist.

Rev Ramkelawan said it was God’s will that people should live in a non-violent world but each person must do his/her part. Meanwhile, Brahmacharini argued that self-interest – the cause of violence – could also be the solution if people realised that their selfish actions were hurting themselves as well as others.

Rhonda Maingot, Director of Living Water Community – a core member of the Movement, said T&T could become the first country to live non-violence because of its small size and the fact that there were so many persons of faith in the nation.

Special prayers were offered by Br Mikkel for people of all faiths and for family life, by Dr Tewari for the Government and people of T&T, and by Sister Yvette for victims and perpetrators of violence.

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