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Books and Documents

Interfaith Dialogue

Religious Leaders and Syrian Refugees Meet In Lebanon
Isabella Eisenberg

In Lebanon, religious dignitaries often give speeches on the inter-relatedness of the three Abrahamic religions, interfaith cooperation, solidarity and peace and love for everyone. Unfortunately such speeches are often just words. One recent event was different. Not just about words, it was about putting theory into practice in the face of a horrendous war raging just a few kilometres away by meeting face-to-face and urging communities to come together….

 

Looking Back- Qur'ans for Peace: What One Person Can Do
Rev Wayne Lavender

Misinformation about Islam and cherry picking Qur’anic verses out of context has become a troubling trend in the United States. The Internet is being used to widely disseminate lies, half-truths and distortions that are insulting, hate-filled messages of anti-Muslim and anti-Islam propaganda. ..

But he paid tribute to members of the Jewish community who welcomed Muslims and helped them settle in the area, even supporting them as they established the first mosque in Hackney in the 1970s. And he said both sides were now reaping the benefits of the willingness of local leaders to put historic animosities aside…

 
Was Swami Vivekananda anti-Islam?
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

Was Swami Vivekananda anti-Islam?
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

Unfortunately, some religious zealots and fanatics, from both Hindus and Muslims, have been exacerbating the social, cultural and religious ties of the two largest communities of India to further their nefarious ends. Fanning the communal fire, they go the extent of tarnishing the images of the spiritual legends of India. In their crazy bid to achieve this pernicious goal, the fanatics have been falsely propagating the baseless allegation that Swami Vivekananda was against Islam, while the truth is just the opposite. Swami ji was a great admirer of the core values of Islam that he believed to be the sole reason for its survival on the earth....

In addition to comparable attitudes about good works, Islam and Buddhism both value interactions with other religions. Although Islam does not directly share a common heritage with Buddhism like it does with Judaism and Christianity, there are still theological motivations for Muslims to dialogue with Buddhists....

The medieval ecclesiastics, either through ignorance or bigotry, painted Muhammadanism in the darkest colours. They were in fact trained both to hate the man Muhammad and his religion. To them Muhammad was Anti-Christ. I have studied him — the wonderful man, and in my opinion far from being an Anti-Christ he must be called the Saviour of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much-needed peace and happiness. But to proceed, it was in the 19th century that honest thinkers like Carlyle, Goethe and Gibbon perceived intrinsic worth in the religion of Muhammad, and thus there was some change for the better in the European attitude towards Islam.....

Guided by a French Scholar, Hindu and Muslim Students at New Age Islam Foundation’s Centre for Education and Research Engage in Interfaith Dialogue
Ms Muriel Potherat, French research scholar

The New Age Islam Foundation’ Centre for Education and Research has been successfully running a free computer education centre in New Delhi for more than a year. The centre has students from both Hindu and Muslims communities where boys and girls learn computers in fully furnished and well-equipped air conditioned rooms.

On July 2, 2013, Ms Muriel Potherat, French research scholar in JNU, New Delhi visited the computer centre and interacted with the students. She is also associated with an Indian NGO called Faith Matters. The purpose of her visit was to know about the attitude of students towards other religions and about gender justice in a multicultural and multi-religious society like India....

As it is, Trinity became official dogma of the Church in 325 AD following the adoption of the Nicene Creed, exactly 245 years before the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad [SAW]. Therefore, the Qur'anic appellation 'People of the Book' referred to the Christians who believed in God the Son, the Father and the Holy Ghost, contrary to the claims of some Muslim groups today who, by limiting its application to pre-Pauline Christians, wished to deny present-day Christians this special status in order to justify hostility to them....

 

Even if one concludes that interfaith dialogue is useful for quite practical reasons, a further question is whether it can contribute constructively to the new movement for “value-oriented education”.  Such education has been basic to every civilization, but most specifically as a basis for classical American and classical Islamic thought.  This, in turn, is essential for successful dialogue.....

Shia-Sunni Joint Friday Prayers in Iraq: A Small Beginning

Recently, the supreme religious leader of Shias Ayatollah Syed Ali Seestani invited the Sunnis to offer Friday prayers together and the Sunnis accepted the invitation. Last Friday, Shias and Sunni got together in the mausoleum of Hadhrat Imam Hussain in Karbala, Iraq and offered the prayer together. In Baghdad too, Shias and Sunnis offered Friday prayer in mosque Umm Al Tubul. The congregation comprised famous personalities apart from common people.....

As the Parisians of 1240 remind us, intellectual examination can actually interfere with the daily realities of religious coexistence. Above all, religious groups need to be respected, and to see that someone is making an active effort to coexist with them. Listening is important, for sure. But some of the details of religious traditions don’t make for easy hearing. To repurpose an old saying about marriage: in interfaith relationships, it’s wise to be a little deaf....

Shared Values among Religions and the Call for Interfaith Dialogue
Ghulam Ghaus, New Age Islam

Islam encourages peaceful coexistence among all religions. All the oriental faiths have the same prescription. But the misinterpretations and unempirical observations of religions lead to the exasperation of conflicts and wars. We repeatedly see some so-called leaders of religions incite fanaticism, extremism, aggression, hate and xenophobia – even legitimise violent and bloody conflicts. The misuse of religions is often stimulated to actualise power-political dreams. We can witness barbaric acts often made in the name of religion in human history consecutively from past to contemporary. ....

In Saudi Arabia all religious activities outside the permitted Wahhabism, an extremely conservative movement within Islam, are banned. Indeed in Saudi Arabia's apartheid state non-Muslims have to drive on their own side of the road. That apartheid system encompasses all aspects of Saudi life. This is because the Islamic system of Dhimmitude enforces a system of apartheid on all non-Muslims in Islamic/Muslim states....

Holocaust: Muslim Schindlers in Focus
Abdulateef Al-Mulhim

During the Holocaust, it wasn’t Jewish lives that were saved by Muslims. The Sarajevo Haggadah, a 600-year-old manuscript, which was hidden from the Nazis, was given to a Muslim cleric to hide it. Interestingly, he kept it under the floor of a mosque until the war ended. All these events tell us that our creator had created us to help each other not hurt each other. And now, we saw 65 years of attacks and counterattacks and no peace is achieved....

 

'No Religion' Is World's Third-Largest Religious Group after Christians, Muslims According To Pew Study
Tom Heneghan

There are about 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, or 23 percent of the global population. "The overwhelming majority (87-90 percent) are Sunnis, about 10-13 percent are Shia Muslims," the study said. Among the 1.1 billion unaffiliated people around the world, over 700 million, or 62 percent of them, live in China alone, where they make up 52.2 percent of the Chinese population....

 

Striving for Peace and Amity: Asghar Ali Engineer’s Struggle for Preservation of Plural Ethos
Asghar Ali Engineer

His work, to be referred below, shows that he took a serious interest in understanding the  dynamics of communal violence, he must have spent days in and days out, investigating the communal riots, their aftermath and their impact on the social and political affairs. He can easily be credited with being the major scholar-activist who pioneered this area of investigation. He spent enormous energy to investigate and analyze the communal violence in India....

 

In Life and Words, Boston’s Muslim Leader Bridges Cultures
William Suhaib Webb

A dominant theme of Webb’s ministry is that Muslims can live faithful lives in contemporary America, and that they also have an obligation to participate — civically, culturally, and politically.....

 

“We’re becoming so diverse, and that’s not going away,” Damaj said. “We need to have a sense of community. We’re one community. But how can you have that sense of community if you don’t get to know each other?”...

There are of course differences among these ideas of freedom, because conception of truth differs among them. But the similarities far outweigh the differences. All these three views differentiate between lower and higher form of freedom: the higher being freedom from fear and ignorance, a freedom that allows us to see greater truth, greater than just being free to act as one wishes......

 

Terrorism and the other Religions
Juan Cole

It takes a peculiar sort of blindness to see Christians of European heritage as “nice” and Muslims and inherently violent, given the twentieth century death toll I mentioned above. Human beings are human beings and the species is too young and too interconnected to have differentiated much from group to group.....

 

Interfaith Disappointments
Mike Ghouse

The biggest disappointment in the interfaith world comes when your friends, who are usually rational in their approach to say this with ease, “These acts of terrorism are done in the name of Islam. I do not think the others were done in the name of Christianity etc. With the exception of Islam, other Religions variable accepts responsibility for the actions of their followers.” or this from an immigrant who has carried the baggage from overseas to this land,...

The Maulana Who Loved Krishna (Complete Text)
C M Naim

His first Bhasha poem, however, is not about Krishna. Dated 2 October 1923, it praises his Sufi masters in the Quadiri Silsila, beginning with Hazrat Abdul Quadir Jilani of Baghdad, the head of the Quadiri order, and continuing on, as protocol demanded, to Shah Abdur Razzaq of Bansa, whom all the people of Firangi Mahal considered their immediate spiritual master, and Shah Abdul Wahhab of Firangi Mahal, with whom Hasrat had his own direct spiritual link. As one reads the five verses, one immediately notices the vividly “feminine” persona – as distinct from the “masculine” voice prevalent in Urdu lyrical poetry – that the poet adopted. It strongly suggests that, for Hasrat, the shift to Bhasha from Urdu really reflected a shift in the manner of spiritual devotion....

Top-level Muslims too have to reciprocate in the spirit of the salaam (act of extending peace and brotherhood). Jews, Christians and Muslims are from the same Abrahamic roots and they are referred to as “People of the Book” in the Quran, meaning people who believe in the same line of divine revelations....

 

Vivekananda’s Legacy of Universalism
Vivekanand

The central idea in the life and teaching of Vivekananda was religious universalism. In the eyes of those who believed in universalism, there was no difference between the followers of different religions. All religions are universal — equal and true. Vivekananda, however, argued that in Hinduism, universalism found ideal articulation. And was hence a leader in spiritual matters.....

An 'Esplanade of the Religions' Under Construction in France, a Holy Quarter Includes a Mosque, a Synagogue, a Laotian and a Taiwanese Buddhist Pagoda
Scott Sayare

And so at the edge of town, an “Esplanade of the Religions” is under construction, a sort of holy quarter in the fields that includes a mosque, a synagogue, a Laotian Buddhist pagoda and a $20 million Taiwanese Buddhist temple, said to be Europe’s largest. Nearby, a small cross already overlooks the city from atop the 115-foot glass spire of an enormous Roman Catholic Church, built at the turn of the century about a mile from the old chapel....

 
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