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ICAF Spearheads Discussion on the Roles of Christians to Fight Racism

March 16-24, 2013 was declared as Action Week Against Racism with the theme, “One World, Many Faces”. As part of significant event in Europe, the ICAF or the International Church Association in Finland successfully organized a panel discussion on March 24 that took place at the Crypt of Alexander Church. It was participated by groups and individuals coming from different Christian denominations in the city of Tampere to unite together to discuss means to combat racism. It aimed to encourage every active Christians to share information about the activities in various churches or congregations as to how Christians could work together in their respective areas of responsibility and community fulfilling the tasks entrusted to them by the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The discussion focused on the three main challenging questions: “What can be done and what is our role as Christians in combating racism? How can we, as policy makers and the citizens work together for the good of our society? Lastly, What do we have in common and how can we use and strengthen them for the common good of our society?”

ICAF posted a challenge to asks our honest Christian faith, to take a critical look on our own perception that is often influenced by stereotypes. It encourages us to leave the stereotypes, generalisations and prejudices behind and not to only open our eyes and our minds but also our hearts as Christians for the colours and diversity of the world we live in and the people we meet. It calls on us to consider multiculturalism as enrichment for our society and to promote our community as a space where everybody can equally participate without fear and transgression. It further broadens our perception and look deeper instead of seeing black and white, yellow, red or brown!
The sucessful discussion on the Christian roles to fight racism was spearheaded by the ICAF chairman, Emmanuel Eneh and his team. Together with the invited panelists coming from the different Christian denominations and media group gathered to participate and discuss without fear the reality of what is happening around us. It was a great previledge to have been a part to this meaningful event. It was carried out with alive and active presentation from the distinguished panelists who discussed the existing problems and committed to finding solutions to iliminate racism and discrimination. The panelists are: David Mawby, a Journalist from YLE/ Radio Moreeni-Finland. Revd. Father Markku Toivanen, from the Orthodox Church. Pastor Tapio Lohikko, from the Baptist Church in Tampere. Tuomiorovasti Revd. Olli Hallikainen, Dean of the Tampere Cathedral and myself from the ICCK or the International Congregation of Christ the King.
The overwhelming positive response from each ones ideas, comments, questions and suggestions was a promising sign to get involve and actively act against the current ugly forms of racism and discrimination. To promote diversity, intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding. Racism and discrimination is a local issue that we may experience everyday, but have a worldwide dimension, that is why it has to be fought on all levels: local and national. As Christians, we believe that racism has no place in God’s kingdom, that we are called to do something about it and it has to start from us. The strength of the united campaign is the amount and variety of organisations, churches, public and countries that participate in them and the creativity and diversity of the activities that are organised. Creating together a campaign, we learn from each other and gain new energy, inspiration and motivation to go on with our everyday struggle against racism. We show that there is an enormous amount of people that believe in an open, multicultural society. We can generate city-wide publicity for our single actions in our own homes, communities, organisations, schools and churches to stop racism.

From left to right: Pastor Tapio Lohikko from the Baptist Church in Tampere. Revd. Father Markku Toivanen from the Orthodox Church. David Mawby, Broadcast Journalist from YLE/ Radio Moreeni-Finland. Tuomiorovasti Revd. Olli Hallikainen, Dean of the Tampere Cathedral and Freda Lacochao from the ICCK or the International Congregation of Christ the King. Standing at the back is Emmanuel Eneh, the ICAF Chairman and organizer.

 

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