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Books and Documents

Interfaith Dialogue

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…

In consequence there evolved a distinct culture, tangible in its varied manifestations, which was enthusiastically patronized and nurtured by the Deccan monarchs leading to a distinct identity for the region. Unfortunately, due to its vilification by bigots over the recent past this glorious legacy which was sustained over centuries has come under a grave threat of complete obliteration as evident from the increased polarization between different sections of society…..

 

Zardari's Ajmer Dargah Visit and Sufi-Wahhabi Controversy
K Gajendra Singh
Sufi and Barelvi Islam represent the peasant's religion, a form which is getting rapidly challenged due to increased urbanisation and socio-economic development. Sufism cannot catch up with this trend unless it offers an alternative narrative in a convincing and modern way. Under the circumstances, I would only ask Saeed Naqvi to reassess his conclusion and discover for himself that the road from Ajmer leads nowhere.…

 
The Mormon Moment
Mike Ghouse

The Mormon Moment
Mike Ghouse founded the Foundation for pluralism
One of the founding principles of all religions is to inculcate humility in its followers as it builds communities, while arrogance kills it. However, a few greedy Pastors, Imams, Rabbis, Pundits, Shamans and other vainglorious clergy, preach just the opposite; arrogance. They are bent on denying divinity to others and make a villain out of God, as if God has signed an exclusive deal with them behind other’s back.

The Search For Interfaith Harmony In An Atmosphere Of Evil Inspired By Religious Conviction
S Iftikhar Murshed is the publisher of Criterion Quarterly

The discussions between the Najran Christians and the Muslims of Medina centred on the doctrinal commonalities and differences between the two religions. This was history’s first interfaith dialogue and was completely in accord with the Quranic injunction: “And do not argue with the followers of earlier revelation otherwise than in a most kindly manner-unless it be such of them as are bent on evildoing-and say: ‘We believe in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us, as well as that which has been bestowed upon you: for our God and your God is one and the same, and it is unto Him that we (all) surrender ourselves.’ “(Quran, 29:46.)…

Right-Wing Religion and War on America
Rob Boston is senior policy analyst at Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Unlike secular lobbies, religious groups that work with legislators on Capitol Hill don’t have to register with the federal government and are free from the stringent reporting requirements imposed on any group that seeks to influence legislation. Religion in America would seem to be thriving in this “hands-off” atmosphere, as evidenced by church attendance rates, which in the United States tend to be higher than any other Western nation. So where springs this “war on religion” talk? …

Is Yoga Un-Islamic?
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

Is Yoga Un-Islamic?

One day recently a close relative was shocked to see me do yoga. I offer my 5-time Salah (prayer) and he thought that one who offers Salah should not do yoga because it has its origin in Hinduism. I did not argue with him and since that day I do not do yogic exercises in front of him. Another relative said: “yoga kuch bhi nhi hai, jo namaz hai usi ka copy hai” (yoga is nothing but a copy of namaz). This time I was shocked to listen. Again, I did not argue with him. …

Seeking to Clear a Path between Yoga and Islam
Sarah Maslin Nir is a writer for New York Times

“Yoga is not for Muslims,” he said. “It was forbidden.”…had his students learn yoga to help improve their concentration, three Muslim students quit after a few yoga sessions, he said, in part, he believed, because of their families’ stance toward the practice. “I am putting them in something extra that is not in the Muslim religion,” he said. “The parents did not accept it.”…

 

Take the latest inter-religious fiasco in Malaysia. The Johor Education Department organises a teacher-training seminar with an over-extended and boring title which nevertheless raised the blood pressure of many non-Muslims because it included the phrase “the threat of Christianisation to Islam”. After a public outcry, this was “resolved” by a simple title change. Now, it seems, Christianisation no longer threatens Islam, at least not in the title. …

 

Christ Was Never A Christian But He Was Tortured By Occupying Forces
Eileen Fleming, Citizen of CONSCIENCE for House of Representatives 2012

The biblical account of Palm Sunday can be found in Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; and John 12:12-19. They tell the story of when Jesus entered Jerusalem; the crowds greeted him by waving and covering his path with palm branches. The story goes that immediately following this triumphant celebration Jesus began his tortured journey to the cross. The Stations of the Cross (or Way of the Cross; also called the Via Dolorosa, Way of Sorrows, or just The Way) is a series of artistic representations depicting Christ Carrying the Cross to his crucifixion in the final hours or Passion of Jesus before he died. …

Muslims Approaches to Interfaith Dialogue: The Authentic and the Apologetic
Dr. Adis Duderija is a research associate at the University of Melbourne, Islamic Studies

…one part of the ‘mainstream’ Sunni Islamic doctrine is the notion of successive nature of Prophethood which was fulfilled and completed by prophet Muhammad which renders all other existing traditions apriori as ‘incomplete’ ,’corrupted’ or ‘deviant’ . Hence, as Muslims, there is nothing we can learn from “Them”. …. one could clearly see this attitude of ‘ “you have nothing of importance to say’ manifesting itself by their poor listening and inattention as to what the Christian speaker had to say.

Is There too much God Talk in Politics?
Mike Ghouse, President, Foundation for Pluralism

Extremism in religion has always been repulsive to the general public, but seldom expressed with an equal intensity. Indeed, it was the extremism in religion that chased out many to our shores, to escape from the wrath of the tyrants. Those genes are still alive in most of the Americans who are in one way are the other value freedom. …

Strengthening Muslim-Jewish Ties in the Face of Evil
Marc Schneier and Shamsi Ali

As a rabbi and an imam, we deeply mourn the tragic loss of innocent lives in the murderous terrorist attacks in France. We express our heartfelt sympathy and compassion for the bereaved. Meanwhile, top French Muslim and Jewish leaders have vowed to stand united in opposition to acts which Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, has accurately characterized as being “in total contradiction with the foundation of this religion [Islam]."…

The Toulouse Shootings have United France in Grief
Eve Gani

Given who the victims were – Muslims in Montauban, Jews in Toulouse – we realised very quickly there was a message of racist, anti-Semitic hate, but also, because of the two institutions that were hit, the army on the one hand, the school on the other, it was clear that these were also attacks on the institutions and symbols of the republic. An assassination, not a shooting, because the aim was to kill and terrorise a whole community ….

 

An Infected Conversion

The recent rise in forced conversions, killings and kidnappings for ransom targeting non-Muslims, specifically the Hindus of Pakistan, proves that intolerance and bigotry in our society runs deeper than we’d care to admit. Whether our society has always alienated and harassed people who profess other religions or if this is a ‘trend’, a recent ‘development’ which is haunting everyone, including Muslims who demand peace and coexistence….

On The Need for Inter-Religious Dialogue
Asghar Ali Engineer is a scholar of Islam

Also, it is Allah’s will to create diversity among His creation. ALLAH SAYS IN Qur’an, “And if Allah had pleased He would have made you a single people, but that He might try you in what He gave you. So vie one with another in virtuous deeds.” (5:48) Thus diversity is Allah’s will and it is trial for us if we can live in peace and harmony with each other despite this diversity. Also, Allah wants us not to assert our superiority but to vie one with another in good deeds. …

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    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • Royalj may comment on this article.'
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • The question that arises is that should there be an Shia Sunni in the first. The idea is artificially constructed.
    ( By Ikram Ahmed )
  • I cannot add more after Naseer Ahmed Saab. Completely agree with him. As many Muslims believe in Ghazwa e Hind as Hindus believe in Akhand ...
    ( By Kamran Khan )
  • Duniya ka sb s purana dhram sanatan dhram h or jitne b dhram h wo es s hi nikle h '
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    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
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