March planned for those killed in Paris, Beirut terror attacks

Surrey faith groups plan pilgrimage Friday to foster peace

Map of pilgrimage in honour of those killed in Beirut and Paris this month.

In response to two terror attacks in Beirut and Paris, local interfaith groups are holding a pilgrimage this week in honour of the dead.

On Thursday, Nov. 12, bombs exploded in southern Beirut, Lebanon, killing 43 and injuring more than 200.

The following day, in a series of bombings and mass shootings, 129 people were killed in Paris, France, with more than 400 injured.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

On Tuesday, three Surrey groups announced plans for an “Interfaith Pilgrimage” to honour those those died in the attacks in the two cities. The event is also hoped to foster friendship between people of different backgrounds, religious beliefs and world views.

The groups will be meeting at Northwood United Church (8855 156 St.) at 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 20 and will march to the Surrey Jamea Masjid (12407 156 St.) in time for participants to join the Muslim community for prayers at 12:30 p.m.

The route will also go past four other places of worship: Bear Creek Community Church, Brookside Sikh Gurdwara, Laxmi Narayana Hindu Mandir and Canadian Singh Sabha Sikh Gurdwara. There will be a small ceremony at each site.

The pilgrimage is open to all members of the community at no cost. Participants may join at the beginning or at any of the meet-up points listed below.

All people joining the pilgrimage are encouraged to be self-sufficient in terms of any food, water or clothing they may need. There will be a limited number of rides back to the starting point after the event is over, so participants are encouraged to arrange their own return transportation.

Event organizers come from various beliefs, including Islam, Christianity, atheism,  Bahá’í, Sikhism, Hinduism and Buddhism.

“When we are confronted with deep loss, fear often emerges in our thoughts. Walking together is a tangible, bodily demonstration of unity that reminds us to let go of fear and to move forward in love,” said Scott Reynolds, an event organizer from the United Church of Canada.

Connie Waterman, an event organizer from the Bahá’í community, said religions have the ability to foster peace.

“Each one of us has the ability, individually and collectively, to be compassionate, selfless,and loving. These attributes are strengthened by religious values taught by all the world’s great religions,” Waterman said.  “Together we can create a better world by concentrating all the thoughts of our hearts on love and unity, then aligning our actions to reflect that thought.”

The schedule of events for Friday include:

• 8:45 a.m. – Gather in parking lot at Northwood United Church (8855 – 156 St.).

• 9 a.m. – Pilgrimage begins. Distance from Northwood United Church to next meet-up point is 10.4 kilometers (approximately two hours and 15 minutes of walking time).

• 10 a.m. – Meet in the parking lot at the south end of Bear Creek Park on 140 Street beside the Bear Creek Community Church, Brookside Gurdwara, and Laxmi Narayana Mandir. Distance from here to next meet-up point is 6.3 kms (approximately one hour and 20 minures of walking time).

•11 a.m. – Meet at Canadian Singh Sabha Gurdwara (8115 132 St.). Distance from here to next meet-up point is 3.4 kms (approximately 45 minutes of walking time).

• 12: p.m. – Pilgrimage concludes at the Surrey Jamea Masjid (12407 72nd Ave.).

• 12:30 p.m. – Participants are welcome to join the Muslim community for Friday prayers from 12:30-1 p.m.

A map of the route can be viewed at: https://goo.gl/maps/uo3kdBVsinQ2

An online event description can be viewed at: http://www.surreyinterfaith.ca/event/surrey-interfaith-pilgrimage-walk/