World Religions Conference in Red Deer

About 300 people attended the conference on Monday

Different faiths gathered to spread the message of building bridges not walls at the Red Deer College Art Centre.

About 300 people attended the 11th annual World Religions Conference Monday night, which highlighted the importance of understanding and mutual respect for all religions.

Representatives from First Nations, Atheism, Christianity and Islam groups were in attendence.

“It was about being able to get people from different religious backgrounds to sit together and remove some of the misconceptions that people might have on other groups,” said Malik Agyemang, a long-time volunteer with the conference.

Agyemang said there has been a wall built between religions based on fear and hatred that needed to be addressed.

“If you are afraid of your neighbour and you build walls, then you don’t know the people you live with. If you are open and build bridges with people, you’ll start to realize there is nothing to fear,” said Agyemang.

“Every religion teaches peace. Every religion teaches love. Every religion teaches humbleness and to be good to your neighbours and your friends.”

He said people tend to forget one’s religion doesn’t take away the fact that we are all human beings with similar paths in life.

“In the end, you look at every religion, even those who don’t believe in any faith, and we are people bound for a common destiny. Why build walls that breath fear and hatred? We need to build bridges so we can all live in harmony,” said Agyemang.

Agyemang said the Red Deer event has turned out to be one of the more important World Religions Conferences in Alberta.