During the summer of 2013, Kayla Asemanfar took part in the Interfaith Youth Leadership Initiative Long Beach program. Since then, she has participated in New Vision Partners’ Film Competition along with her friend, Ian Liu. The theme for the competition was “Interfaith Cooperation through Service.” Kayla and Ian received 1st Place for their short film “Service through Friendship.” Read below, a short interview we conducted with Ms. Asemanfar. Watch their video HERE!
1. How did the IYLI Summer 2013 program inspire you?
After attending IYLI Summer 2013 program, I am much more interested in expanding my knowledge about different religions. I am inspired to truly get to know a religion and not judge it based on what society or the media say about it.
2. How did your IYLI experience influence your film submission?
IYLI showed me that all religions have central concepts of compassion, friendship, trust, diversity, acceptance, and love. Although different religions show these themes in different ways, these central themes and more can be found at the core of each religion. This influenced our submission because we came to realize that no matter what religion someone practices, they know that helping others is first priority. It doesn’t matter whether or not they’re Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, etc. Religious texts describe how if someone doesn’t have the same faith as you and even if they have no faith at all, they deserve the same respect and help that others do.
3. Why is interfaith work important to you and in society today?
I think interfaith work is especially important in this day and age. Religion seems to create barriers between people these days, and especially in the government, differences in religion and differences in opinion cause many problems for people, especially minorities, in America. I think that working towards understanding other religions is extremely important because you gain other people’s perspectives when you do that. Understanding and acknowledgement of other religions can help solve many of America ‘s and the world’s problems.