The fifth Interfaith religious leader dialogue was hosted at the Masjid al-Quds Gatesville Mosque on Wednesday 2 October. The dialogue was centered around discussing violence and crime prevention strategies such as character development and economic empowerment for the youth. According to Claremont Main Road Masjid (CMRM) representative, Imam Rashid Omar, the Cape Flats interfaith initiative arose organically in response to the latest spike in gang violence and crime in Cape Town. “Service and Allied Workers Union (SAWUSA) called a meeting with religious leaders to assist members who were feeling unsafe in going to work, in launching a collective civil society campaign for the restoration of communities, social cohesion and safer communities,” says Omar. The gathering served as the platform to provide the community with debriefing of activities thus far, and to discuss plans of action for the remainder of 2019. “Affiliates of the Cape Flats interfaith initiative on African Climate, in association with Home of Compassion Ministries in Delft, took a busload of vulnerable youth on an excursion on Saturday 12 October,” Omar reports. He says youth from the Lutheran Church in Athlone also benefitted from the initiative. Omar further updates that The Cape Flats Interfaith initiative has also been encouraging its constituents to initiate a KarateZen programme, a basketball club, girl guides, music schools and “most of all, food gardens”. “We respect the right of everyone to embrace faith commitments and religious beliefs of their choice and encourage interreligious solidarity and collection action for the restoration of communities, social cohesion and safer communities,” Omar says. According to Omar, this leader dialogue evolved from a small voluntary task team responding to Cape Town executive mayor Dan Plato’s call to support the invitation by the Cape Flats Interfaith initiative religious communities to duplicate the Beacon Valley Resurrection Project that took place in a few other Cape Flats communities. “It was also decided to convene a second mass interfaith prayer service for a peaceful holiday season and to coincide with the 16 days of No Violence against Women and Children in Mitchell’s Plain on Sunday 24 November,” says Omar.“The Cape Flats interfaith dialogue convening body was mandated to implement the meeting’s resolutions.” The first Cape Flats interfaith dialogue meeting was held at the Thusong centre in Bonteheuwel on 10 July. This was followed by the first mass Cape Flats Interfaith prayer service for peace at the Joseph Stone Auditorium on 25 August. It is expected that the second mass interfaith prayer service for peace will attract even more people.