The concept of an educational Centre dedicated to inter-faith research, education and dialogue in New Zealand was originally conceived by Abdul Rahim Rasheed late in his life after having devoted himself for decades to the work of inter-faith dialogue and harmony in the Australasian region.
Having achieved an enormous amount at local community and national and international levels during his tenures as lawyer, community leader, writer and philanthropist, the Centre was his only unrealized aspiration. As such, his family, friends, and well-wishers from all parts of New Zealand society have decided to further efforts towards what has been named the Centre for Inter-faith Dialogue and Education.
Based on the Rasheed Memorial Trust that had been formed by the late Mr Rasheed in memory of his own parents and to continue the charitable works he did, the Trust was re-dedicated to him upon his death, and at the Commemorative Dinner of December 2006, attended by many important members of New Zealand society, it was decided that the Trust would spear-head efforts for the completion of the Centre project.
It is hoped that Mr Rasheed’s love of New Zealand and all its diverse peoples, as well as his pioneering efforts for their harmonious co-existence, will inspire others to join hands with the Trust and see the project through to completion. Thankfully, current supporters include politicians, academics (including those from the field of religious education specifically) and grass-roots inter-faith workers.
The religious harmony that is seen in New Zealand cannot be observed in many other cities of the world and we in New Zealand cannot be so complacent as to assume that this harmony will endure the tide of migration and local and international climates. Tolerance that is based on ignorance and indifference is fragile. It is our responsibility to ensure that we become a society in which we don’t have to “tolerate” each other, because we will know each other well enough to enjoy each other’s company, or at the very least, maintain an informed respect for each other and live side by side with clear consciences and best wishes. Only ongoing dialogue and education can achieve this and the project aims to implement just that.
Invitation To All:
It is the Trust’s view that the nature of the project requires that all religious, ethnic and community groups join hands to achieve this project. It is only together that we can ensure that all citizens of our uniquely peaceful country keep up with the realities of the present and future by becoming informed about matters relating to others’ beliefs, cultures and practices, such that our respect for one another can be based on an informed acquaintance, rather than indifference, or even “tolerance”.
It is envisaged that the CIDE board, fully representative of all relevant groups, will assume eventual responsibility for management and ongoing operations of CIDE, along with Unitec New Zealand – the other major CIDE partner.
Let us all make this world a genuinely better place to live, starting with “God’s Own”.
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