WACC to host dialogue at Parliament of the World’s Religions

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TORONTO – The World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), based in Toronto, will present a workshop at the Parliament of the World’s Religions meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, which will take place from Oct. 15 to 19, 2015.

The workshop is titled “Interfaith Dialogue on Communication, Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Religion” and will take place on Friday, Oct. 16 from 12:15 pm to 1:45 pm in room 355E at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

In the light of growing tensions between society, religion, and politics, there is an urgent need for interfaith dialogue about the role of communication – especially mass and social media – in today’s societies.

 

The context for the workshop reaches back to the publication of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses (1988), the Jyllands-Posten cartoon controversy (2005), and the attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo (2015) which provoked widespread public debate on the relationship between freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

 

More recently, the characterization by some politicians of the Syrian refugee crisis as a “Muslim invasion of Christian Europe” – a story carried in the world’s news media – has provoked fear rather than empathy.

 

While some statements or actions may not immediately be the direct cause of a specific act of violence, they spread seeds of intolerance and anger that tend to legitimize bigotry and hate. At the same time, new communication technologies such as digital platforms offer enormous potential for opening up paths towards common ground.

 

From both a faith-based and a secular perspective, this workshop will address aspects of freedom of religion and freedom of expression and the role of public media in promoting greater inter-religious understanding.

 

The workshop will be moderated by WACC General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Karin Achtelstetter, and will include short presentations on peace journalism in the context of freedom of expression and religion by Philip Lee, WACC, and on freedom of religious expression by Shaikh Habeeb Alli, International Development and Relief Foundation.

 

Further information: Philip Lee, WACC Deputy Director Programs, PL@waccglobal.org, (416) 691-1999 x227

 

 

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The World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) is an international non-governmental organisation that builds on communication rights in order to promote social justice. Today, we offer guidance and support to people of all faiths, ethnicities, and cultures worldwide. We believe that everyone has the right to communicate and to be communicated to, in the same way that they have the right to food, shelter, and security. In strategic alliances, we aim to be a catalyst for change for the common good, sharing information, knowledge, and experience in the field of communication.

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