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Books and Documents

Interfaith Dialogue

Violence Against Muslims Not In The Spirit Of Jesus
Shayne Looper

Jesus used a Samaritan for the hero in the famous story we call “The Good Samaritan.” He made a point of visiting a Samaritan village and spent some time there. He was open about his disagreement with their religious views, but he clearly valued them as people. When two of his disciples threatened retribution against some Samaritans, Jesus promptly rebuked them: “You don’t know of what spirit you are.”

After Attacks, Israeli Schools Confront Hate
Jodi Rudoren and Isabel Kershner

The vast majority of these discussions will take place in something of a vacuum, since Israel has separate school systems for Arabs and Jews (and, indeed, distinct ones for secular, religious and ultra-Orthodox Jews). The rare exception is Tamer’s school, Hand in Hand, which runs three campuses enrolling a total of 950 students.

 

A Muslim at the Gurudwara
Mariana Baabar

But then, 62-year-old Muhammad Khurshid Khan is no ordinary volunteer; as is apparent from his name, he is not even a Sikh. Till recently, Khan was Pakistan’s deputy attorney-general. He was sacked for giving Pakistan a ‘bad image’ by polishing shoes and sweeping floors at Amritsar’s Golden Temple, and other Indian Gurudwaras and temples during an official visit last March....

Palestinians Fear New Israeli Moves In West Bank
Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been frozen for almost two years. But Palestinians say that doesn't mean events aren't happening on the ground. Recently, the Israeli military issued orders calling for evacuation and demolition of nearly a dozen Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank. Palestinians see this as evidence of Israeli plans to annex the territory, though Israel denies this......

 

How Sikhs Migrated To US, Fought Prejudice and Built a Community
Vikram Doctor

It is a story worth remembering in the wake of the horrific massacre at the Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. The motivations of Wade Michael Page, the killer are still unclear, but almost definitely involved the white supremacist ideology he subscribed to which sees groups like Sikhs as illegitimate interlopers in America. But as the story of the Punjabi-Mexican marriages shows, their roots run deep in the USA, as do the prejudices they have always had to deal with.....

The Great Wall of Silence: India And Pakistan are separated by Radically Opposed Ideas of Secularism and Religionism
M.J. Akbar

What is the difference between Indians and Pakistanis? The answer is uncomplicated: there is no difference. We are the same people, with similar personality strengths, and parallel collective weaknesses. Why then have the two nations moved along such dramatically different arcs in the six decades of their existence? India and Pakistan are not separated by a mere boundary. They are defined by radically opposed ideas. India believes in a secular state where all faiths are equal; Pakistan in the notion that a state can be founded on the basis of religion....

Independence Day: O God, Put Out This Fire for Us
Anwar Iqbal

So here is a story that can only happen outside the Subcontinent because back home Indians and Pakistanis do not meet each other. They spend their entire lives believing in whatever they are told about each other. Although he had heard that Muslims too were killed in the riots, he had never met one who had lost parents, like he did. Not until he met Riaz....

Is The Sikh Shooting Christian Terrorism?
By Mike Ghouse for New Age Islam

Is The Sikh Shooting Christian Terrorism?
Mike Ghouse

As an American, Indian and a Muslim, I stand by the Sikh community and hope to find sustainable solutions to prevent shameless events like this from happening.  As Americans we need to come together to build an America where no one needs to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other. Blaming will not bring the lives back or solve the problems, pushing the bigots to the corner will not do it, engaging them in a normal day to day life has a chance of nurturing goodwill….

Sukhadiya Das extols the virtues of fasting. “There are many benefits. First of all, it requires control of the mind. The person who fasts not only keeps away from food or water but also from other evils including abusing others. For example, during other times, we may use bad words when a person accidentally hits you with his vehicle on the road......

 

Squabbling About a Name: Reflections on Religious Exclusivism
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

The next time you spot a Hindu, make it a point to greet him with a ‘Salaam!’, and wish the next Muslim you see with ‘Shanti!’ I’ll bet you they both would be horrified, shocked, or, at least, visibly uncomfortable. The Hindu might think you’ve mistaken him for a Muslim by Salaam-ing him and the Muslim might think you’ve hurt his feelings by using a ‘Hindu’ term to greet him!...

Faultlines of Hindi and Urdu

One such example of the huge wall conventional literary history has erected between related linguistic traditions – or rather within one linguistic tradition – is that of Hindi and Urdu. What was once a shared common language of people of India stretching from Peshawar to the borders of Bengal split into two languages, Urdu and Hindi, towards the end of the 19th century? As a result, there arose two artificially separated literary cultures, each harking back to a different literary past due to the chauvinistic attitudes both of Hindus and Muslims. This cultural chauvinism was to subsequently embroil them in a practice of divisive politics, and each language became a marker of religious identity....

 

Dialogue of Humanities in Lyon France
Asghar Ali Engineer

It was indeed an intellectual treat to be in dialogue with leading intellectuals, writers and poets of France and French speaking world. There were representatives from all over North Africa i.e. Algeria, Tunis, Morocco, Mali, Egypt and several other countries and also people living in France from these countries....

 

Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and Recent Riots
Asghar Ali Engineer

The world was shocked when news came about riots in Rakhian state (Arakan) of Myanmar between Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists in which more than 100 Muslims have been killed and property worth millions have been destroyed. AMAN (Asian Muslim Action Network) which has Asia wide network decided to intervene and bring about peace in Myanmar (Burma) which, otherwise, has been a peaceful country. It was decided to have an inter-faith dialogue between three principal religious communities of Myanmar i.e. Buddhists, Muslims and Christians....

Carnage and the Motives: Anti Muslim Violence and Anti Sikh Massacre
Ram Puniyani

Gujarat is a different cup of tea. From the decade of 1990, with BJP government coming to power, all the wings of RSS combine, VHP, Bajrang Dal and their patriarch RSS came to full scale, unrestrained activity. RSS Chief Rajendra Singh declared that Gujarat is the ‘Laboratory of Hindu Rashtra’. Different villages of Gujarat started putting the hoarding outside their villages. ‘Welcome to so and so village of Hindu Rashtra’. The carnage of Gujarat is a part of the series of anti Muslim violence being spearheaded by the divisive ideology of religion based nationalism....

Circumcision in Germany: When Judges Become Religious Referees
Matthias Drobinski

When Abraham was 99 years old war, the first Book of Moses tells us, God made a pact with him and his descendants: If you're true to me, I'll be true to you. There would be special sign for this pact: "All male children, as soon as they are eight days old, must be circumcised." According to the Islamic tradition, Abraham first carried out this act on himself – with the help of an axe. Circumcision of male children thus was, and still is, the indelible archaic distinguishing feature of Jews and Muslims...

Comparison with India would invite ire from the informed as well as uninformed segments of the population a few years back, but the steady improvement of relations or willingness to live with fine-tuned misunderstandings and mutual hostility no longer provokes anger or leads to suspicion. Comparison is always healthy as it brings to the fore the counterfactual facts and reasoning, jolting the brain to think and prodding the brawn to act....

Germany's new president stated earlier this year that Muslims are part of Germany, but that he would not say Islam was. But with more than 4 million German Muslims, and the principle of religious freedom enshrined in the country's constitution, how could Islam possibly not be part of Germany? Behind the scenes, decisive steps are being taken institutionally to make Islam a more integrated part of Germany. Two years ago, the German Council for Science and Humanities recommended that Islamic theology be taught at German universities, along with training for imams and religious teachers. ...

Of Nationalism and Love in Southasia
Shivam Vij

Bakhsh (1830-1907) was a Sufi Pir and poet from Mirpur in modern-day Azad Kashmir, though his ancestors hailed from the Gujarat district in Pakistani Punjab. Known in Pakistan as Rumi-e-Kashmir, I learnt about Bakhsh from a friend who hails from Poonch on the Indian side of the Line of Control. My friend grew up literally on the border which is not a border, watching Doordarshan and PTV alike, making him a bit of an Indian and a bit of a Pakistani. .....

A Better Way to Talk About Faith
David Bornstein

It comes as no surprise that many Americans harbour unfavourable attitudes toward those who hold different beliefs, notably Muslims and Mormons, but also evangelical Christians, Catholics, Jews and, the most disdained group of all, atheists. Large majorities of Americans believe that Islam and Mormonism, for example, have little in common with their own faiths. However, most Americans say that they know little or nothing about Islam or Mormonism. ...

Is Religious Freedom under Attack in America?
Mike Ghouse is committed to building a Cohesive America

Muslim Americans strongly feel the noose tightening on their freedom. Most restrictions are coming out of sheer ignorance and a false understanding of what their faith is about, as they practice in America rather than Saudi Arabia or Iran. The senators and representatives who have initiated anti-Sharia bills can't even tell what they are opposing. The irony is neither the organizations nor the Muslims are seeking Sharia to be a part of the American law…. 

Sikh and Muslim Monuments
Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro

Sikh and Muslim Monuments
Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro

The miniature Jharokas in the mosque are the novel addition that one does not find in any other mosque of the Potohar region. Such innovations by Attock artists also mark other architecture of the region. They were not only great builders of mosques and Havelis but also of temples and Gurdwaras. Some of the temples, Havelis and Gurdwaras built by Attock artists are located in Hazro,…

My Neighbour's Faith: What I Found in the Chapel
Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

Psalm 139: "Whither shall I flee from Thy presence." From then on, I understood that I was at liberty to move the cross and say my morning prayers in the chapel. Afterward, I would always put the cross back and turn the pages to Psalm 100, the "thank you" psalm. The main chapel upstairs was full of statues of Jesus and the Evangelists. As an Orthodox Jew, I simply wasn't comfortable praying there. There I found myself a corner facing east, toward Jerusalem, and began to pray....

 

Together In The Search For God
Christoph Strack

A few hundred metres away, and just across a small street from the Church of the Beloved Virgin, is the Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque. The building of the mosque in the 90s led to debates across the country. It is still one of the largest Muslim religious buildings in Germany. It was the debates back then which led Talat Kamran to get involved in dialogue, both on day-to-day issues and on matters of theological principle…. 

Different Ways to Pray
William Moyer

Times are changing when the faithful gather to worship. Across the Southern Tier and northeast Pennsylvania, worship opportunities have morphed from traditional Saturday nights or Sunday mornings for Christians and sundown Friday for those of the Jewish faith.
 Now, jazz musicians connect secular with sacred once a month in a downtown Binghamton church.
 At the end of the weekend, Catholics who miss weekend masses can partake of communion on Sunday night in an Endicott church.
 The faithful from different denominations pray and meditate together as one congregation once a month at a historic church in Montrose.

 

Delivering a historic talk in Delhi recently, renowned Sufi leader and a biological descendant of Prophet Mohammad, Hazrat Maulana Syed Mohammad Ashraf Sahab Kichhouchhawi declared that the much touted jihad, used by terror groups across the globe to justify their inhuman acts, is meant to be waged against the evil within and not against others…

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