Religious groups join forces to combat hate in Calgary

CALGARY – It was a meeting of what many people may consider polar opposites Wednesday night in Calgary.

More than 50 faith-based organizations, including Jewish and Muslim groups, came together for a forum to stem the tides of rising hate rhetoric.

They’ve developed a new task force known as the Interfaith Community Approach Eliminating Hate, Racism and Violence (ICARE)

Rabbi Shaul Osadchey said it’s important to get a diverse group to combat this issue.

“Be it anti-Semitism, Islamaphobia, xenophobia, racism, homophobia, we’re here to profess our love for one another and our commitment to build bridges of respect and human dignity.”

READ MORE: Fighting hate in YYC 

Osadchey believes there’s a common understanding between those from the Jewish and Islamic faith when it comes to prejudice.

Secretary of ICARE, Dr. Mukaram Zaidi said he wants the task force to send a strong message.

“The hope is that children who feel marginalized, not belonging to the community should not go and do something really stupid or take the law in our own hands. Hurting another individual based on their faith, ethnicity, gender, colour of their skin or how they live their life is not acceptable.”

When it comes to religious stereotypes, Osadchey said it is still a major issue and it’s based on ignorance.

“What we’re hoping to do is create a campaign for religious literacy, where people actually learn about each other’s traditions and beliefs, practices. Through doing that they build personal relationships, they overcome the stereotypes.”

The leaders of ICARE also drew attention to Quebec’s Bill 21, which came into law earlier this month, which bans the wearing of any religious symbol by public employees.

The bill has been criticized by religious groups in Quebec as well as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying governments shouldn’t legislate what people wear.

WATCH: Protests in downtown Montreal over Bill 21

With files from CityNews

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