Previous research has not focused on youth participants in interfaith programs and how these programs affected their attitudes toward religious intolerance. This qualitative phenomenological study addressed this gap through semi-structured interviews examining the perceptions of interfaith youth program alumni. The impact on their attitude involved how the participants’ beliefs regarding different religions were affected over time. The effects of their actions examined how the program empowered participants to engage in efforts to counter religious intolerance. Findings revealed that the alumni derived a sense of confidence from the knowledge gained about other religions. Participation in community service projects and program activities shaped their attitudes to be more appreciative and tolerant of other faiths. This change in attitude empowered the alumni to engage in concrete actions to address religious intolerance. This analysis of the effectiveness of interfaith youth programs in countering religious discrimination can be helpful to scholars, practitioners, and policymakers. 


Thaddeus J. Barnas

Thaddeus Joseph Barnas is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel. His professional experiences include communications, logistics, and military-political affairs. Thaddeus earned an M.S. in Homeland Security from Monmouth University and a D.Sc in Civil Security Leadership, Management, and Policy from New Jersey City University.

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The Effectiveness of Interfaith Dialogue in Countering Religious Intolerance: A Phenomenological Study of Interfaith Youth Program Alumni