By Mariama Marong
Triple D Foundation on Wednesday 20th October, 2021, engaged media personnel on interfaith and intercultural dialog through fostering community engagement and understanding of peace.
Held at National Nutrition Agency (NaNa) in Bakau, the seminar was funded by Foundation for Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue Initiative (FIIDI) on the theme “fostering community engagement and understanding”.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Lawrence Owoyemi, Director of Triple D Foundation, The Gambia, said the main aim of the organization is to contribute efforts in mitigating religious violence in the communities around the world.
“The path to promoting religious tolerance in our communities is not an easy one but with commitment and perseverance we hope in bringing communities together to live in dignity and dialogue,” he said.
Mr Lawrence added that his Foundation and FIIDI are committed at all level to promote intercultural and interreligious understanding and to empower communities in peace building.
He said that peace is the key for any community development and a nation as a whole, adding that in order to maintain peace and build a fostering community, people need to amplify education as a basic approach to address and prevent religious and ethnic violence affecting communities.
Triple D Foundation boss described youth as the means of peace and fostering dialogue in communities but also serve as actors in either fueling or mitigating violence.
“There has been an alarming spike in recent years in hate speech and incitement to violence against individuals or communities, based on their identity.
He urged the youth to be promoters of peace within religions and culture to create a meaningful development, saying “fostering peace is more important than mitigating conflicts”.
He further said to achieve and fulfill development aspirations, people should make more efforts to promote peace and respect one another’s cultures and beliefs.
“All these are enshrined in articles 18,19, and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” he said.
These he said are to uphold the important of rights in a fight to eradicate all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion.
Furthermore, he said the constitution of the Gambia also prohibits any discrimination based on religion, chapter IV, section 34 outlines protection from discrimination.
Lawrence also commended The Gambia for encouraging religious tolerance whereby both the Muslims and Christians interact in a peaceful environment.
“Religious violence is very rare in our country even with the estimated 95.7 percent of the population in the Gambia are being Muslim, 4.2 percent Christians and 1 percent of other religious groups,” he said.
Dr Lawrence also highlighted the hostilities of religious hatred which violated the rights of the minorities in certain parts of the world, adding that Triple D Foundation objectives are to prevent and address incitement of violence that could lead to atrocity.
He urged Gambians to respect one’s opinion and beliefs for the development of their communities.
Mrs Recheal Shadare said peace with religious tolerance and fostering intercultural dialogue led to a peaceful nation. She also urged the youths not to get involved in conflict but rather engage in meaningful activities.
Triple D Foundation is a Non-Governmental Organization to promote peace security and sustainable development for a better future. The foundation will be engaging in uplifting the lives of youth through creating avenues and building the capacities of young people and for a better future.