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Books and Documents

Interfaith Dialogue

Jerusalem: Model of Coexistence for Diverse Religions and Beliefs
Ali Bulaç

Today, Jerusalem is far from being an abode of peace. It is not impossible, but very difficult to turn this city into a place where practitioners of three religions can worship God in veneration for each other……

 

And by the way, Muslim soldiers stationed at Wazirabad Cantonment in British times used to help their Hindu colleagues in staging Ramlila every year. Lakshman, Vibhishan and Ravana’s roles were sometimes played by them. And once, hold your breath; Sita’s part was enacted by a handsome Muslim sepoy. Ramzan is the right occasion to savour such revelations in Haji Mian’s company when the feasting begins after sundown around the illuminated Jama Masjid.....

 

A religious authority will not add to the rational or the moral discussion of our concerns as humans. But there is something more about us. We are also spiritual beings. At least many of us believe that. Here it is where a religious authority matters. It adds a spiritual dimension to the discussions on humans and humanity's wellbeing. While rational and moral logic is enough for many there are those who would benefit from having a spiritual dimension….

 

Ramadan Soap Rediscovers Egypt's Jews
Khaled Diab

In a contemporary Egypt where intolerance towards Christians, not to mention anyone who is different, is on the rise, many Egyptians feel their country seriously lost its way in the second half of the 20th century, when it was supposed to have been liberated. Haret al-Yahoud is not a missive to Israel but an ode to pluralism. By coming to terms with the injustice it committed against its Jewish minority, Egypt may be able to save its soul.....

 

How Promoting Diversity can Stop Spatial Segregation
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

It is therefore imperative to create conditions within society for the acceptance of diversity as a positive value. This means that we should relook at what our educational system does in terms of inculcating diversity and pluralism. We could also think in terms of fostering and showcasing the value of diversity within the civic spaces which we inhabit. What this means is that I need not have to travel to Jama Masjid to experience the life world of Muslims; this experience should be available to me in my own locality. And this can only be possible if my locality was religiously diverse.....

Christianity, Islam And Yoga: How Far Can You Stretch?

Malaysia and Iran stand out as Muslim countries where yoga is both quite popular and controversial. In 2008, when Malaysia's supreme Islamic authority told Muslims to eschew the practice, this was widely greeted with dismay as a symptom of a hardening theological line in a country where many faiths have to rub along…..

How Surya Namaskar Helped Me Come Closer To Islam
Firdous Majeed

Pranayama every morning taught me to stay grateful to my breath. Every inhale and exhale is a moment to be conscious of. Every waking moment requires you to stay present. That's training the mind. And I learnt it through yoga. I am now more aware during my Namaz. More present in my Dua. .....

Over the past few years, the Supreme Council of Antiquities funded the restoration of most significant Jewish landmarks in Cairo. One thought that the council’s attempt was to enrich Egypt’s heritage. However, the quarter seems to have remained the same. If the Jewish buildings have been restored, they are empty of the people who once filled them. ....

 

You should practice the good and tell people that Islam is not the religion of venting out anger; Islam is not the religion of fighting; Islam is not the religion of compulsion; Islam is not the religion of revenge; Islam is the religion of peace; Islam is the religion of kindness; Islam is the religion of pardon; Islam is the religion of winning hearts; The reply of mischief is not mischief in Islam but Islam is religion of compassion because Islam is the religion of the Quran…..


 

Where Do Ram And Allah Live?
Ram Puniyani

Lord Ram and Allah are almighty and the mortals like us, including the breast beaters from communal formations, should prefer to see that the housing is provided to all the mortals, ordinary people so that they don’t have to live on the pavements-slums and suffer the ignominy. Can one hope that rather than presenting the past in a one sided; divisive manner we look at the story from all the angles, and put forth the rational one....

 

آدی شنکر آچاریہ نے یہ بھی کہا کہ جو سناتن ویدک دھر م میں تشدد پیدا ہو گیا ہے وہ ویدوں کی غلط ترجمانی کی وجہ سے ہے۔ آدی شنکر آچاریہ نے اپنے پیروکاروں سے کہا کہ وید عدم تشدد کو  سب سے بڑا دھرم مانتے ہیں۔  اسی لیے آپ لوگ جو یجّ کرتے ہو اور یجّ میں جو بلی دیتے ہو وہ جانور کی قربانی نہ دیکر ناریل کی قربانی دو۔ آدی شنکر آچاریہ کے کہنے سے آپ نے دیکھا ہوگا کہ ہندؤں میں کوئی بھی کام ہوتا ہے تو اس سے پہلے ناریل پھوڑا جاتا ہے، ناریل کی بلی دی جاتی ہے، یہ آدی شنکر آچاریہ  کے کہنے سے ہوا۔ اس طر ح سے آدی شنکر آچاریہ نے جین اور بودھ دھرم کے عدم تشدد کا  مقابلہ ویدک عدم تشدد سے کیا اور کامیاب رہے اور بازی پلٹ گئی۔ ایک ووقت میں جین اور بودھ دھرم اکثریت میں آگئے تھے، اب جین اور بودھ دھرم کو ماننے والے اقلیت ہو گئے، اور پھر سے سناتن ویدک دھرم کو ماننے والے اکثریت ہو گئے۔……

 

It is thus an error for secular philosophers to desire to think and desire to build the ideal society in this world because according to God’s scheme of things, this ideal society will only become a reality in the world of the Hereafter. Human freedom is the most formidable obstacle to the building of the ideal society since humans can choose to commit between good and evil, and many have chosen to commit evil than good. The ideal society will thus remain a distant dream in this world. ….

 

Indonesia upholds secularism in its legislation but at the same time considers the significant role of theistic religion in the public sphere. Under this principle, there should be no priority in religion because the state equally recognizes all religions and no religious labelling such as mainstream religion, heretic or blasphemer, even though heterodoxy is a common feature of religion....

 

The Price I Pay For Respecting Islam
Craig Considine

Muslims were seen as “extremists” and Islam was an “evil” force that had to be crushed by “freedom loving people”. When it came time to choose an academic discipline in college, I chose “Islamic studies” – not because I wanted to learn about a great religion and world civilisation, but rather to work for the CIA and become a spy to nab the “bad guys”....

 

The Power of Muslim-Jewish Musical Bridges
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf

Over two hundred Jews, Sunni and Shia Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Christians came together at our event "Qawwali and the Spiritual Alchemy of Music" to celebrate the role of music in spiritual devotion and interfaith dialogue. Our overall message was of Divine love and love of our common humanity. Displaying their highly rhythmic and energetic music and singing in Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Punjabi (a language spoken by Sikhs) and other local Indian dialects....

 
Righteousness from a Global Perspective
Iftekhar Hai, New Age Islam

Righteousness from a Global Perspective
Iftekhar Hai, New Age Islam

Hence to be correct, to be fair and to be righteous is not exclusively a Muslim domain.  Righteousness is multifaceted with doing good, i.e., believing in ONE GOD, praying, giving money in charity, helping the poor, homeless and the downtrodden, doing work honestly, not taking advantage or robbing the weak etc. etc.  However, the Quran not only supports all of the above, but also connects it to JUSTICE.  Justice has to be understood in a Global context and across inter-religious lines across all spiritual traditions......

Religious extremists believe in an angry, punishing God and see themselves as the agents of this God. On the other hand, the mainstream followers of the Qur’an and the Bible understand themselves as called to be agents of divine mercy and love (Berry as cited in Trefle, 2013). Religious extremism leads to terrorism, breeds bigotry and hatred, and uses violence as its methodology with the aim of exacting punishment on those who are perceived to be enemies or infidels. The result is the reign of terror, the reign of violence and bloodshed….

 

The Holy Land is valued, revered, and loved by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike because it is the place where their most treasured spiritual and historical sites and shrines are honoured and kept. The fact that the Holy Land, which is located in what is now the state of Israel and the Palestinian lands, is commonly treasured and revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike points out to the common heritage and spiritual unity of these three religions. It is imperative to have peace in the Holy Land for two important reasons: 1) to allow constructive living to flourish between the Israelis and the Arabs; and 2) to make the Holy Land a zone of peace owing to the fact that it is considered sacred by followers of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and is a site of annual pilgrimages by peoples from different parts of the world. .....

“Allama Iqbal is among those who have included Shri Krishna among the path breaking spiritual and intellectual personalities who criticized the philosophical traditions of his own nation and country in beautiful words and brought out the truth that abandoning deeds does not mean abandoning the whole because deeds are the requirements of nature and strengthen life. But whatever Iqbal has said about Shri Krishna is not in verse but in prose.” However, he has written a poem on Ram in which he has sung praise of this Hindu deity and called him Imam-e-Hind......

As Hardline Buddhism Spreads In Sri Lanka, Some Make a Quiet Stand
Abby Seiff, Quintus Colombage and Niranjani Roland

As Hardline Buddhism Spreads In Sri Lanka, Some Make a Quiet Stand
Fathima Faheema

When Fathima Faheema is nervous, she wrings her headscarf; pulls the edges shyly over her mouth. It is only after some prodding that she admits her reasons for converting from Buddhism to Islam. In some parts of Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese woman’s conversion and interfaith marriage might have sparked outrage….

Together We Build Peace
By Victor Edwin SJ, New Age Islam

Together We Build Peace
By Victor Edwin SJ, New Age Islam

Muslims and Christians, young and old, and they all complement to each other. It was also noted in the meeting that plurality in creation as well as in the way of life of individuals and communities need to be acknowledged, cherished, respected and protected. It emerged very clearly that human rights and human dignity are the elements that lay the foundation for a sustained dialogue between Christians and Muslim and their common responsibility to work for peace, reconciliation and justice in the world......

 

Bullies and the Practice of Superficial Islam: If Seeing a Cross on a Building Shakes Your Faith, It Must Be a Very Weak Faith
Hafidz Baharom

Faith in Islam is determined by the personal actions and intent by each individual. It is not determined by how you voraciously attack others or how much you protest against crosses on buildings. Where in the teachings of Islam is the belief that a cross can suddenly inspire someone to leave their faith in Islam....

 

Exploring the Future of Christian Muslim Relations – Jesuits among Muslims Discuss Their Life and Mission
Victor Edwin SJ, New Age Islam

Most Muslims in Senegal are members of one of the Sufi brotherhoods. The ‘Sufiness’ has inculcated in the Senegalese population respect for the faith of Christians and traditional African religions. The speakers also noted that the Sufi brotherhood at times holding on to certain privileges and try to emerge as a new form of aristocracy. This not good for Senegal, they said. We should be watchful of Wahhabism, they cautioned. ....

 

Totally Present to the Other: The Dialogical Legacy of Paul Jackson
Victor Edwin SJ, New Age Islam

Jackson discovered this in his pilgrimage into the writings of Sufi Saint Sharafuddin Maneri, and into the lives of many theologically thinking and spiritually vibrant Muslim friends. He endeavoured to create an ambiance for his students to learn something similar to what he has learnt from the context of Muslims of Bihar....

 
A Solemn Easter
Naimat Khan

Hindu leaders share the general fear of terrorist attacks with the Christians, but they are also especially concerned about the recent violence against their temples. There have been six reported attacks on Hindu temples in Sindh in the last six months....

 
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