Last Updated on 31st March 2023
Syed Mukarram Nazeer, Canada Correspondent
The 13th World Religions Conference, White Horse, was held on 1 March 2023, and was held in person after two years because of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, as reported by the Regional Amir of British Columbia, Rizwan Peerzada Sahib.
Whitehorse is the capital of Northwest Canada’s Yukon Territory. Located approximately 2,400 km northwest of the Baitur Rahman Mosque, Vancouver, it has a population of 30,820 according to the 2022 census. It is situated north of the Province of British Columbia, Canada, south of the Arctic Ocean and east of the State of Alaska, USA. It is a popular tourist attraction in the winter and summer months due to its beautiful valleys and the Rocky Mountains. The land has rich resources of minerals, gas, and oil.
The British Columbia Region had the responsibility of hosting this event. Advertisements were run on social media as well as on local radio channels and newspapers. Sixty posters were posted in the city. Four member-team led by Sadr Abbotsford Jamaat, British Columbia, Fahim Channa Sahib, travelled over 2,300 km to Whitehorse before the event and distributed flyers in the area. Various local community organisations were engaged, including Whitehorse United Church and the Anglican Church of Whitehorse, Yukon. Whitehorse Tourism and the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce were contacted and invited to be part of the conference. An interview regarding the event was broadcast on Canada Broadcasting Corporation Radio on 1 March 2023.
The theme of the conference this year was “The Question of Timeless Suffering?” The former member of parliament, Mr Larry Bagnell was the event moderator. The following speakers presented the perspectives of their respective religions:
David Jensen represented the Baháʼí Faith
The Right Reverend Beverly Brazier represented Christianity
Shakoor Ahmad Sahib represented Islam
Rick Buchan represented Buddhism
Rick Karp represented Judaism
Navdeep Kaur represented Sikhism
Phillip Gatensby represented Indigenous Communities
A number of dignitaries attended the conference and were given the podium to say a few words.
Whitehorse City Councillor Ted Laking greeted and welcomed guests on behalf of the City of Whitehorse. The Commissioner of Yukon, Angélique Bernard, appreciated the contribution of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Canada for hosting a unique conference in Whitehorse and bringing multiple faiths together on one platform.
The moderator’s concluding remarks were given by Mr Larry Bagnell. The vote of thanks was presented by Regional Amir British Columbia.
The audience appreciated the opportunity to listen to multiple religions at one event.
Brenda Fediuk said:
“I attended the conference tonight. Thank you; the topic, the presentations, and the food were wonderful. I enjoyed meeting new people.”
Beverly Brazier said:
“It was so wonderful to see you again, in person. All of you. Thank you for all the work you do to make this happen.”
Rick Karp said:
“I must say that the conference last night was, for lack of a better word, perfect. I so enjoy hearing from the members of the panel and reconnecting with you and your team. I think we had a wonderful turnout and everyone enjoyed the experience, which was shown by the questions after the presentations and the fact that people stayed.”
The attendance at the event was 105.