Why is Religious Tolerance Important? Meaning and Examples in Kenya

Looking at the general benefits of tolerance in society helps explain the importance and meaning of religious tolerance in an objective way.

The meaning of Religious Tolerance can be broken down into two levels: Religious Tolerance by Governments and Religious Tolerance by Individuals.

Religious Tolerance involves choosing to allow and respect other peoples beliefs and practices that are different from your own beliefs.

This means being in a position to disallow or discriminate but choosing not to even when you dislike or disagree with these beliefs, without discriminating the holders of these beliefs or favouring other groups or people holding your beliefs.

Here’re some of the cheerful faces of the #ColourInFaith Kikambala community members we met today. The depth and wealth of stories and experiences behind these smiles is incomparable. We are honored to share life with them

Here’re some of the cheerful faces of the #ColourInFaith Kikambala community members we met today. The depth and wealth of stories and experiences behind these smiles is incomparable. We are honored to share life with them

It also means on a Government level, creating the social infrastructure that allows the practice of different religions. This is sometimes endorsed through official laws, for example, the inclusion of Religious Freedom in the constitution.

What is Colour In Faith doing to Promote Religious Tolerance?

Last week we revisited some of the houses of worship that we had previously painted in Mombasa. This follow-up visit brought people of different faiths together as they celebrated religious pluralism.

Kenya has in recent years been in the limelight of the global experience of a growing dominance of fundamentalist voices and acts of terror justified on religious grounds. This is particularly sad because Kenya has had a long established culture of religious acceptance, tolerance, accommodation and exchange.

Colour In Faith- Which Colour symbolizes Faith, Hope, and Love? Why is Religious Tolerance Important? Meaning and Examples in Kenya Painting Mosque

Colour In Faith- Which Colour symbolizes Faith, Hope, and Love? Why is Religious Tolerance Important? Meaning and Examples in Kenya Painting Mosque

 

Celebrating Religious Pluralism:

These cultures are being undermined by an infusion of hardline interpretations of faith and the deepening of a global identity based on media stories about division, terrorist attacks and insecurity. The risk is a cultural confusion that would have agents of insecurity succeed in dividing these societies.

At #ColourInFaith, we encourage COLLABORATIVE INNOVATION: Consulting with local cultural innovators to orchestrate the project in a conscious, intentional and strategic way.

At Colour In Faith, we encourage COLLABORATIVE INNOVATION: Consulting with local cultural innovators to orchestrate the project in a conscious, intentional and strategic way.

The idea is to focus on houses of worship (e.g. synagogues, churches, temples, and mosques) and colour the physical structures that hold these communities together yellow. The colour yellow would represent a physical manifestation of LOVE as the most important value in any religion. religion.

The colouring of the buildings would highlight the idea that there is more that unites us than divides us as a people, African and otherwise.

Colour In Faith: Which colour symbolizes Faith, Hope, and Love?

Divisions along religious lines are deepening, and we’re doubting more and more how much we have in common. How can we stand boldly and visibly together? What is the colour of faith in the Bible, Quran and other religious books? Is there a colour that symbolizes or represents faith?

Many may ask what the significance of such a colour would be. Well, this is the story of unity and love by people from communities with a diverse background, who were brought together based on the colour of faith.

Colour In Faith Drone Mosque Painting

Colour In Faith Drone Mosque Painting

Kenya has in recent years been in the limelight of the global experience of a growing dominance of fundamentalist voices and acts of terror justified on religious grounds. This is particularly sad because Kenya has had a long established culture of religious acceptance, tolerance, accommodation and exchange.

These cultures are being undermined by an infusion of hardline interpretations of faith and the deepening of a global identity based on media stories about division, terrorist attacks and insecurity. The risk is a cultural confusion that would have agents of insecurity succeed in dividing these societies.

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The idea is to focus on houses of worship (e.g. synagogues, churches, temples, and mosques) and colour the physical structures that hold these communities together yellow. The colour yellow would represent a physical manifestation of LOVE as the most important value in any religion. religion. The colouring of the buildings would highlight the idea that there is more that unites us than divides us as a people, African and otherwise.

Inspired by an idea from her collaborator Yazmany Arboleda, place-maker Nabila Alibhai and her colleagues created “Colour in Faith,” a social practice art project that unites people of different religions by getting them to paint each other’s houses of worship yellow, in a show of solidarity.

“We’ve proven that the human family can come together and send a message far brighter and more powerful than the voices of those that wish to do us harm,” Alibhai says.

Religious Pluralism: Using Colour to Unite Community Members from Different Faiths

Less than 2 years back, Colour in Faith and Fatuma’s Voice started a much-needed conversation about radicalization, politics, and religion. This sparked a series of events which led to the transformation of communities through dialogue and joint action from groups that media almost always previously portrayed to be in conflict.

All this led our focus on houses of worship (e.g. churches, temples, mosques and synagogues) and colour all of them yellow. These physical structures hold communities together, and we felt that the colour would symbolize and speak to LOVE as the most important notion in any religion. Colouring the buildings would highlight the idea that there is more that unites than divides us as a people. Painting the buildings would represent a catalytic event that expresses the progress in community unity, belief in love and an expression of inclusivity as a result of the project.

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What religious leaders are saying:

“For me, yellow is the colour of the sun and the sun shines above everybody,” said Bishop Rose Mungafu. Her church in Mombasa recently partnered with the local Muslim community to paint the church yellow. “We painted together to show our people that we as leaders are together and so Muslims will know Christians are brothers,” Mungafu said. “Now everyone who passes by will know we are in peace.”

Religious Pluralism: Using colour to Unite Community Members from Different Faiths

Religious Pluralism: Using colour to Unite Community Members from Different Faiths

 

Benefits of Public art to the Community:

It raises awareness of issues and awakens a sense of possibility and of belonging. It reminds us of the potential of people coming together to do something unexpected that generates a conversation, bringing into that conversation people who have felt abandoned or even ostracised by more traditional frameworks. Essential to our ethos is the local nurturing of the entire project, from identifying an issue to ideating a concept to implementing it. The people impacted tend to be diverse and often under-served by other types of activism: public art tends to bring in people who often do not take part in other potentially unifying or cathartic social debates.

Read about Colour in Faith and its philosophy:

Colour in Faith is a project of inCOMMONS an organization focused on civic engagement and place-making with the mission of engendering tangible and personal responsibility for public spaces, culture & the environment. Colour in Faith is a form of citizen action that is aimed at challenging our feelings of helplessness in the face of a hijacking of faith for destruction. It is a form of inclusive action aimed at rekindling a sense of positive possibility and purpose-driven action. Our methodology combines community leadership building with public art such that communities develop tools to collectively analyze their public realm and community priorities, empathize with their fellow residents, and articulate common aspirations.

This initiative also comes from the recognition of the role of pleasure in social change. Forced change only builds resistance. The arts and beauty have the potential to bring comfort, project an aspired way of life, express identity, offer a moment of reflection and elevate one, even momentarily, from a state of frustration and despondency.

Check out our film sharing the #‎ColourInFaith Launch at the Circle Art Agency last week in Nairobi! Featuring Yazmany ArboledaNabila AlibhaiNik JacksonWeke ZabRajay ShahRamadhan Obiero, Wanuri Kahiu, Yvonne Owour, and many others! Thank you Sadolin Paints EA Ltd, inCommons, Heinrich Boll Foundation, PAWA 254 and Fatuma’s Voice for your support!

Colour-in-Faith is being evolved in partnership with in-Commons, a company that makes the sector better by means of making correct human beings common and not unusual locations properly. The organisation’s model relies on a concept of alternate that attaches civic leadership and community engagement with tangible and private responsibility for public areas, a way of life and the surroundings.

1. UNDERSTANDING THE POSSIBILITY OF PUBLIC ART
Introduce capacity collaborators to the concept of public artwork as a medium for social observation and transformation. This includes providing an overview of the evolution of public art during the last two decades which will set the inspiration for brainstorming and sharing the concept for feedback.

2. COLLABORATIVE INNOVATION
Consulting with local cultural innovators to orchestrate the task in an intentional and strategic manner. This includes:

– Analysing our areas, our routines and our relationships with one another. Engaging in a manner of commentary that would assist the way to better interact with our communities.

– Building a commonplace intention or articulating a favoured interaction.

– Re-putting forward and re-designing the concept as needed.

Three. PROJECT PLANNING
The nearby leadership group can be identified (to encompass an artist, a community organiser, project manager) a good way to shoulder most people of the implementation responsibilities. An application would be advanced (could encompass exhibitions, workshops, panels and discussions earlier than and after the event). Necessary assist such as lets in and government support, corporate sponsors and media assist might be sought. Budgeting, scheduling and delegation of responsibilities might take place.

Four. PROJECT EXECUTION
The public orchestration is realised and documented (video, images, audio, writing). After the occasion, organisers go through an analysis and capacity development segment. Here a public forum may be held to get witness statements and reflections. Local assignment leaders are guided on how the equipment used can be used for creating destiny installations.

NABILA ALIBHAI Cultural Curator

Nabila Alibhai (b. 1978) has had a long career in innovation in peace-constructing and civic engagement, public fitness and protection. She has held positions in the Aga Khan Development Network, the United Nations and the International Organization for Migration and has laboured on tasks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, the USA and Switzerland.

She has a Master of Public Health from Yale University and is educated in war resolution. She was recently a mid-profession fellow in MIT’s Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies so one can enhance her efforts on network solidarity through public areas. Yellow is the colour of the duckies that embellish her adulthood, in and out of bathtubs.

NABILA ALIBHAI- WHAT DOES COLOUR IN FAITH MEAN TO ME?

NABILA ALIBHAI- WHAT DOES COLOUR IN FAITH MEAN TO ME?

Colour in Faith is an opportunity for self-reflection as individuals, communities and as a country about what it is, that elevates us in pursuit of higher purpose. The series of terror attacks we have experienced have left us feeling powerless and as a country, we struggle with how to heal and how to play an active role in steering our collective future in ways that feel relevant, meaningful, and of our choosing. For many, this expresses itself as a crisis in religious identity with some seeking brotherhood in extremism. For many, there is a growing mistrust in the other and diminishing confidence in representative bodies. There is a pervasive feeling of having no control in divining the direction of our reality and having little access to decision-making processes.

NABILA ALIBHAI- WHAT DOES COLOUR IN FAITH MEAN TO ME

NABILA ALIBHAI- WHAT DOES COLOUR IN FAITH MEAN TO ME

Colour in Faith is a form of citizen action that is aimed at challenging our feelings of helplessness in the face of a hijacking of faith for destruction. It is a form of inclusive action aimed at rekindling a sense of positive possibility and purpose-driven action.

Our methodology combines community leadership building with public art such that communities develop tools to collectively analyze their public realm and community priorities, empathize with their fellow residents, and articulate common aspirations.

This initiative also comes from recognition of the role of pleasure in social change. Forced change only builds resistance. The arts and beauty have the potential to bring comfort, project an aspired way of life, express identity, offer a moment of reflection and elevate one, even momentarily, from a state of frustration and despondency.

YAZMANY ARBOLEDA – Artist

Yazmany Arboleda (b. 1981) is a New York-based artist and trained architect who lectures internationally on the power of art in public space. In 2013, he was named one of Good Magazine’s 100 People Making Our World Better.

His work has been written about in the New York Times, Washington Post, UK Post, UK’s Guardian, Fast Company, and Reuters. Arboleda’s projects range from giving away 10,000 pink balloons to grown-ups in Kabul to turning abandoned high-rise buildings in the heart of Johannesburg into Living Sculptures by literally highlighting them to draw attention to the tensions between government corruption and South Africa’s rampant homelessness.

Yellow is the colour of the sun that keeps him hopeful (We’re completely unable to banish the night from our lives, but we’re also shockingly unable to prevent the sun from rising).

YAZMANY ARBOLEDA: WHAT DOES COLOUR IN FAITH MEAN TO ME?

YAZMANY ARBOLEDA: WHAT DOES COLOUR IN FAITH MEAN TO ME?

YAZMANY ARBOLEDA: WHAT DOES COLOUR IN FAITH MEAN TO ME?

Colour In Faith is an art project grounded primarily on the idea that we all belong to each other.  While there are many diving lines that continue to thrive, I am interested in exploring how art can be used to erase boundaries.

The inspiration for my work comes from the people I encounter moment to moment in my life. Plato once wrote, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Through my practice as an artist, I am interested in exploring how we can be soldiers in each others’ armies collectively engaging in the sadness and joy that comes with being human.

RAMADHAN OBIERO – Project Coordinator

Ramadhan Obiero is the director of the “We Are Watching You” project which engages communities through music and performances to create a culture of vigilance and political accountability.

Ramadhan has experience as the Coordinator for the Vumilia Youth Group, the Stage Manager for musician Eric Wanaina in New York and Kenya, the leader of the Kale Leo Band, and the Chairman of the African Cultural Research and Education Foundation.

He holds a Diploma Certificate in Community Development from the Kenya Institute of Social Work and Community Development. He is also an East African Fellow with Acumen Fund.

RAMADHAN OBIERO: WHAT DOES COLOUR IN FAITH MEAN TO ME?

RAMADHAN OBIERO: WHAT DOES COLOUR IN FAITH MEAN TO ME?

RAMADHAN OBIERO: WHAT DOES COLOUR IN FAITH MEAN TO ME?

Being in this process to bring humanity together is a great opportunity for me. This is the time when the world needs to know that Muslims value life and not terror. We value love not hatred. We have different faiths but we were created for common action and that is what this process means to me. As a Muslim, I would love to show the world that Islam is all about peace and love #this is Islam love and peace.

It pains me that even the Government is showing signs of fear and prejudice in instances where Muslim communities are not allowed to convene in the CBD. I hear Muslim Leaders speak of Christian leaders avoiding to meet them. I think this is the time to change that mindset and to come together in a common action that unites our people.

My dream is that one day I will see a world free of terror attacks in the name of Islam.

RAJAY SHAH – Project Coordinator

Rajay is a Nairobi native currently enrolled at the University College London where he is studying BASc Arts and Sciences (Majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Cultures).  Beyond being passionate about social-constructs, he has devoted a great deal of time in the past few years working on a series of oil paintings that shed light on the human-wildlife habitat conflict and life within the slums in Kenya.

He interned with the artist Syowia Kyambi and the Kuona Trust. Previously, he worked with Stand Up Shout Out, an organisation designed to empower Kenyan youth.  Yellow is the colour of the crisps that his grandmother makes to make his days a little brighter.

RAJAY SHAH: WHAT DOES COLOUR IN FAITH MEAN TO ME?

RAJAY SHAH: WHAT DOES COLOUR IN FAITH MEAN TO ME?

RAJAY SHAH: WHAT DOES COLOUR IN FAITH MEAN TO ME?

It’s not always easy to remember encounters with people and experiences in different places in such vividness; the words and animated conversations, the varied attire, the number of people in that painting on that wall in the dining hall. But it is easy to remember how those experiences made you feel; at least that’s what I’ve found so far with Colour in Faith. Here are a few examples of some of my experiences so far:

Sitting in on a church service in Kariadudu and listening to Pastor Gabriel preach about the glory of the lord, resulting in a resounding ‘Amen!’ by the audience.
Entering a Gurdwara in South C and being flooded by a sense of divinity as I find myself encompassed by the most incredible arrangement of mirrored and decorated glass.
Finding serenity and solitude as I walk down the blue-walled, airy and quiet corridors of Jamia mosque.

I was able to experience a profound sense of community, peace and joy in all of these environments, and I believe that it is so important for everyone to feel this. It is a part of human nature to create areas where we can feel love and connection. Colour in Faith is about uniting people across all faiths and religions, and celebrating what brings us together rather than what separates us. I can’t think of a better way to do this than through this grand collaborative gesture using yellow that will create beacons of hope throughout the country. It serves to remind us that at the end of the day we are all human and that we all have the ability to love and be loved- that we all NEED to love and be loved. To me, that is everything.

EXPECTED RESULTS, REACH AND LONG-TERM IMPACT

  1. COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP through information past styles, having a speak that includes seeing more than one views, uncovering a common will, and embodying and enacting a brand new way forward.
  2. COMMUNITY ORGANISATION & PRODUCTION CAPACITY of partners through management training, venture management, an improved community and public profile.
  3. A CATALYTIC EVENT that transfers the consensus of a common network goal into the public realm. In the beyond, this has blanketed engaging 10,000 human beings at the streets.
  4. PRESS DELIVERED TO A GLOBAL AUDIENCE to inspire them to ‘Think, Follow, Act.’

Colour In Faith – Media Mentions:

CNN: WHY ARE KENYA’S MOSQUES & CHURCHES TURNING YELLOW?
THE GUARDIAN: MELLOW, YELLOW: KENYA’S MOSQUES AND CHURCHES PAINTED ‘IN THE NAME OF LOVE’
HOUSTON CHRONICLE: COLOUR IN FAITH PROJECT EXTOLS RELIGIOUS PLURALISM GLOBALLY
QUARTZ: AN ARTIST HAS PAINTED MOSQUES & CHURCHES YELLOW IN KENYA TO PROMOTE PEACE
HUFFINGTON POST: WHY KENYA’S HOUSES OF WORSHIP ARE GETTING A YELLOW MAKEOVER
SMITHSONIAN: THIS GROUP CELEBRATES KENYA’S RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY BY PAINTING RELIGIOUS CENTERS YELLOW