compassion-conferenceEileen FitzGerald and Robert Miller, News Times, 4/13/2013

DANBURY — Compassion — whether the underlying force in individual lives, for crafting new laws, or for teaching students life lessons — may be one of the key elements of human civilization we take for granted.

In a two-day workshop on Compassion and Creativity at the Portuguese Cultural Center, starting Friday and organized by Western Connecticut State University, doctors, educators, clergy, and government leaders examined how to shift the focus from “me to we,” how to turn a destructive event into something constructive and how compassion affects the dynamics of the community.

Friday morning, the mass shooting in Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School Dec. 14 served as the focal point for the insights of U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who was the keynote speaker before a panel with Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Newtown First Selectman Patricia Llodra.

The first session Friday afternoon brought together religious leaders from Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism to discuss how compassion is a wellspring of both religious thought and individual healing. …

In the afternoon, Islamic teacher and activist Mongi Dhaoudi spoke of how the tenets of Islam — its insistence of daily prayer, charity, annual fasting at Ramadan, and pilgrimage to Meccas — are practical and powerful ways to make Muslims less self-involved, more aware of the world around them.

Often, he said, simple acts of charity change lives.

“It’s the ripple effect,” Dhaoudi said. (Full article)

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