Interfaith Council welcomes Young with night of devotion

By and

Members of the Student Interfaith Council welcomed U President Michael Young and his wife Suzan to the U at an event devoted to religion Wednesday night.

Representatives from a variety of religious groups introduced and expressed their beliefs through music, dance and spiritual messages.

President Young said the night was a wonderful collaboration of religious values and said the council is a “beacon to all of us.”

“It takes courage to teach others about your religious beliefs,” he said. “My heart bleeds as I remember the divisions between people I have met during my work in relation to international religion.”

Young stressed the importance of respecting and understanding religious differences that are in the world and presented the council with a picture given to him by former President of South Korea Kim Dae Jung depicting a scripture focused on service.

President Young said service to others leads to acceptance of the wonderful aspects that make people different.

“I have seen about the worst and best impact religion has had on the world,” he said. “Religion can bring out the best in people, but it is also a terribly destructive force.”

According to President Young, the differences between cultures and religions should be cherished not avoided.

“Muslims more than any other group I have witnessed give an example of committing oneself completely to God’s will,” he said. “Their capacity in relation to caring for others and devotion to their religious practices and beliefs is amazing.”

Suzan Young said the council is very important because having knowledge of a variety of religious beliefs is vital to students at the U.

“All the rest of Utah is so homogeneous and it is important for people, especially students, to get to know about other faiths,” she said. “It is important for growth.

Suzan Young said while she was growing up in Orem, there was a lack of diversity, but that she encountered people of other faiths after moving to Cambridge.

“If you know and accept differences it makes you better able to learn and understand others,” she said. “Much of the problem is misinterpretation of beliefs.”

SIFC Vice President Naysahn Saeed said the night was a success, as more than 50 people attended.

Council members hope to continue to bring students together and plan to host an Interfaith Dialogue where students can voice their opinions and beliefs on Oct. 25. “It is important for students to gain an understanding of other faiths,” Saeed said. “The only thing in the way is ignorance and ignorance leads to fear.”

[email protected]