Eboo Patel video: “We have to build bridges that are stronger than the bombs that other people might throw”
By Meryl Justin Chertoff for The Aspen Institute
America’s religious diversity, historically its pride and potentially a source for engagement around the common good, has for the last months occupied us at the Justice and Society program as we worked with co-chairs Madeleine Albright and David Gergen on the Inclusive America Project. With the benefits of the knowledge and experience of a distinguished panel drawn from the fields of education, youth service, government, media, and religiously affiliated organizations, the Inclusive America Project is working to preserve our nation’s collective strength by promoting the core value of religious pluralism based on freedom of worship, respect for the rights of others, and recognition of common values shared by all.
By Eboo Patel for the Huffington Post Religion
In the wake of the Boston attack and manhunt, I’ve been getting a lot of messages about how interfaith efforts matter more than ever, and I’ve sent out a volley of tweets expressing the same sentiment myself. So, does this view hold up to analysis, or is it just a surface salve for a really deep wound?
At the risk of promoting a cause in which I’m deeply involved, I think that there are several good reasons to strengthen and expand interfaith efforts. These are true even during normal times; what the events in Boston have done is highlight their importance. Before launching in, let me state the obvious: Interfaith programs are not a miracle solution. Their primary purpose is neither to root out potential terrorists nor solve every social problem. But they do matter. Here are three reasons why:
Source: The Jordan Times
His Majesty King Abdullah on Monday emphasised the important role US Arab and Islamic organisations can play in communicating the issues of the Arab nations to decision makers in the US.
He said that these organisations can help entrench understanding and stretch bridges of cooperation and dialogue between the Arab and Islamic worlds from one end, and Western countries from the other.
He made the remarks during a meeting with representatives of Arab and Islamic organisations in Washington.
By Shai Franklin for Huffington Post Religion
“Dialogue” between religions, and among the denominations of individual religions, is too often limited to niceties and “search for common ground.” And who can object to those goals? But to be truly useful and honest, such dialogue needs to court friction and address the doctrinal disagreements and pent-up grievances on both sides of what divides us, religiously or otherwise.
At the United Nations, which generally avoids and discourages discussion of religion, the Alliance of Civilizations aspires to harness religions for peace and progress. But with a discussion devoid of religious testimony, conducted with retired religious personalities with little current influence, it has very little traction with the two-thirds of earthlings who are deeply religious.
No less than with inter-faith consultations, encounters within denominations also demand candor and accountability.
Christian, Jewish and Muslim volunteers came together Sunday to refurbish the “Shul in the Mosque,” a synagogue that happens to be situated inside of a mosque in the Bronx.
The Shul in the Mosque is located inside the Islamic Cultural Center of North America, which also houses the Masjid Al-Iman, at 2006-8 Westchester Ave. in the Parkchester section of the Bronx. Members of the Bais Menachem of Parckchester worship in the space.
The partnership began when the Young Israel Congregation was holding a drive for needy families years back, and received a donation from Masjid Al-Iman founder Sheikh Moussa Drammeh, according to a Tablet Magazine report.
By James Martone for Catholic News Service
“You must study the other,” said Father Scattolin, whose career in Islamic studies began in Lebanon and Sudan, before leading him in 1980 to settle in Egypt, where he has lived, taught, researched and written since.
He argues in books, interfaith forums and his daily life that understanding among religious groups comes through deepening one’s knowledge of the other’s texts and beliefs, and through accepting the other’s “freedom of choice” to believe in a religion different from one’s own.
“For me, it is difficult for people to put (Christians) as the center when they have their own beliefs,” Father Scattolin said.
“To have faith, you need freedom of choice. We are in a pluralistic world and this is good, as it makes freedom of religion, and there is no faith if you don’t have freedom of religion,” he said.
By Gabriele Barbati for International Business Times
Every Christian knows the holiest places in Christendom are in Jerusalem. The holiest of all, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, was erected in 325, over the site where it is believed Jesus was crucified, buried and rose from the dead.
Yet, few know that it is a Muslim who opens and closes the only door to this holiest of Christian sites.
In fact, it’s two Muslims: one man from the Joudeh family and another man from the Nuseibeh family, two Jerusalem Palestinian clans who have been the custodians of the entrance to the Holy Sepulchre since the 12th century.
It is not possible to build bridges between people while forgetting God. But the converse is also true: it is not possible to establish true links with God while ignoring other people. Hence, it is important to intensify dialogue among the various religions and I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam. – Pope Francis
- Pope reaches out to Jews, Muslims, urges respect (onefilm911.wordpress.com)
Pope Francis has promised to continue the Catholic Church’s “fraternal” dialogue with Jews and work with Muslims for the common good.
Francis met Wednesday with religious representatives from a dozen faiths and traditions who attended his installation Mass a day earlier.
The bulk of his comments were directed at Christian groups, particularly the Orthodox who were represented among others by Bartholomew I, the first ecumenical patriarch to attend the installation since the Catholic and Orthodox church split nearly 1,000 years ago.
Directing himself to the half-dozen rabbis attending, Francis promised to continue the “useful brotherly dialogue” that has been under way since the Second Vatican Council. He singled out Muslims in his comments, saying he wanted to “grow in esteemed respect” and work for the common good.
Monday, 19 August 1985
Dialogue between Christians and Muslims is today more necessary than ever. It flows from our fidelity to God and supposes that we know how to recognize God by faith, and to witness to him by word and deed in a world ever more secularized and at times even atheistic.
The young can build a better future if they first put their faith in God and if they pledge themselves to build this new world in accordance with God’s plan, with wisdom and trust…
Therefore we must also respect, love and help every human being, because he is a creature of God and, in a certain sense, his image and his representative, because he is the road leading to God, and because he does not fully fulfil himself unless he knows God, unless he accepts him with all his heart, and unless he obeys him to the extent of the ways of perfection…
I believe that we, Christians and Muslims, must recognize with joy the religious values that we have in common, and give thanks to God for them. Both of us believe in one God the only God, who is all Justice and all Mercy; we believe in the importance of prayer, of fasting, of almsgiving, of repentance and of pardon; we believe that God will be a merciful judge to us at the end of time, and we hope that after the resurrection he will be satisfied with us and we know that we will be satisfied with him.
Loyalty demands also that we should recognize and respect our differences. Obviously the most fundamental is the view that we hold on the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth. You know that, for the Christians, this Jesus causes them to enter into an intimate knowledge of the mystery of God and into a filial communion by his gifts, so that they recognize him and proclaim him Lord and Saviour.
Those are important differences, which we can accept with humility and respect, in mutual tolerance; there is a mystery there on which, I am certain, God will one day enlighten us.
By Thomas Cahill on New York Times
Amid all the useless bloodshed of the Crusades, there is one story that suggests an extended clash of civilizations between Islam and the West was not preordained. It concerns the early 13th-century friar Francis of Assisi, who joined the Fifth Crusade not as a warrior but as a peacemaker.
- How the new pope could bring Muslims and Christians together (onefilm911.wordpress.com)