For Hoti, religion allows understanding of ‘other’

Passion for interfaith education runs through Amineh Hoti’s blood. Her grandfather believed a perspective beyond Islam was important from a young age, forcing his grandchildren to participate in a Convent of Jesus and Mary in Pakistan.

Hoti’s father grew up in India before the partition in 1947, where he lived among Hindus, Christians and Muslims coexisting in peace. He has since focused his life on understanding other systems of belief.

Decades later, Hoti follows the same passion. She is the co-founder and director of the Centre for the Study of Muslim-Jewish Relations at the University of Cambridge, which was the first of its kind.

She’ll share her passion for educating youth during today’s 2 p.m. Interfaith Lecture in the Hall of Philosophy.

The need for such education is great, she said, particularly in South Asia. Hoti is building a center in Pakistan similar to the one at Cambridge.

The young people Hoti has encountered have responded enthusiastically to broadening their spiritual perspectives. A speech she presented during the United Nations’ World Interfaith Harmony Week brought the young audience to its feet in applause.

“I think interfaith really helps them understand the ‘other,’ helps them make friends and helps them go across boundaries,” Hoti said. “And that is something that allows them to make friends and not enemies.”

If Hoti had her way, interfaith education would be compulsory in every school in Pakistan, starting in primary school and continuing throughout a child’s education.

“That would make such a big difference in the perception of the ‘other,’ ” she said, “and would help heal our fractured world.”