Global Peace Foundation Kenya in partnership with the county government of Mombasa, Kenya Women Holdings (Tuvuke), Interreligious Council of Kenya, and Human Rights Agenda held an Interfaith Youth ‘Boot Camp’ on December 18-19, 2015 to emphasize the importance of inter-religious cooperation and coexistence and the threat of radicalization for youth in the Mombasa coastal region.
The two-day event, ‘Unity in Diversity: One Nation Under God,’ included presentations, break out discussion groups, and a visit to both mosque and church. Participants said it was rare in Mombasa for youth from different religions to interact, and some described it as the best experience in their lives. A majority of Christian youths said they had never entered a mosque due to misconceptions and deeply rooted misgivings.
“This was a life transforming experience for me. My parents may not understand why I entered the mosque, but I will let them know how this dream of One Family Under God is real and timely.” – a Christian participant
Kenya faces a growing challenge of youth radicalization, with extremist violence from Somalia and South Sudan threatening the border region and sensational terrorist attacks undermining security and exacerbating internal struggles between Muslims and Christians. The Global Peace Foundation conducts ongoing programs to foster religious tolerance and cooperation, especially among youth in coastal Mombasa, the second largest city in Kenya in a predominately Muslim region.
During the opening ceremony, Daniel Juma, Executive Director of the Global Peace Foundation-Kenya, explained how the Foundation’s global vision of “One Family under God” is also aligned with the Ubuntu spirit in Africa—the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity—the preamble of the Kenyan constitution and the national anthem.
Juma emphasized the need to understand that all people, regardless of race, nationality, or religion, come from one Origin or Creator, and are thus brothers and sisters of one human family. He explained as brothers and sisters under one parent, people have the ability to love each other beyond differences, to genuinely care for one another and to realize the same dream.
The camp concluded with a graduation ceremony officiated by Mombasa Imams and church leaders. Working with key partners, Global Peace Foundation through its Amani Pwani, or “peace at the coast” initiative, continues to promote coexistence and harmony among Kenyan people.