Before we get into what the interfaith dialogue entails, let me start by making it clear what interfaith dialogue is NOT about. Interfaith dialogue is not intended for converting people to your faith!
This is a question that so many people, Muslims, and people of other faiths have asked me when I invite them to be part of the interfaith dialogue in their communities. They sometimes ask, “how many people have you converted to Islam in your years of working on interfaith issues?
My answer surprises some while disappointing others. I have converted exactly zero people to Islam as an interfaith worker. I have very likely changed the perception of Islam and Muslims for thousands of people, but have not ‘converted’ anyone. Would you consider this a ‘failure’? I certainly don’t feel it that way, simply because that is not the objective of interfaith dialogue.
What else is interfaith dialogue NOT about?
- It is not about telling who is right and who is wrong.
- It is not about agreeing or accepting everything about the other faith traditions (but it does involve respecting others’ views despite the disagreements. Sometimes we have to agree to disagree but in a civil manner)
FULL ARTICLE FROM PATHEOS
ON THE border with Saudi Arabia, an American clergyman partners with a sultan keen on religious coexistence.
Imagine David Cameron in Norfolk, about to speak on ‘British values’. He then invites forward a Muslim imam, and asks him to explain Islam.
Transfer the scene to the Sultanate of Oman, and witness an American Christian pastor make clear the gospel in the austere heartland of Ibadi Islam.
Now picture a tolerance that predates Britain’s embrace of multiculturalism—on the border of Saudi Arabia.
The analogy is not perfect. Sultan Qaboos bin Said is an absolute monarch, ruling since 1970. Proselytisation is forbidden in any direction.
But the Shiva Temple in the capital of Muscat has served the Hindu community for over 200 years. Since the early 1900s the government has given land to build churches.
Saudi Arabia’s chief cleric has repeatedly called for all non-Muslim houses of worship in the Arabian Peninsula to be destroyed in accordance with sharia law.
Clearly, Oman does not share Wahhabi convictions. There appears a similarity in strict practice, but not in the approach to others. The Ibadi branch of Islam is far older than the eighteenth-century Saudi creed, dating to its formative scholar from the old capital in Nizwa in AD 711.
And to this region where Islam originally took hold, the Ministry of Religious Affairs invited Revd Douglas Leonard to speak.
FULL ARTICLE FROM LAPIDIOMEDIA.COM
A distance from the devastation and turmoil in Marawi City was a peaceful moment—Christians and Muslims exchanged flowers in celebration of Eid al-Fitr at an evacuation community in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte on Sunday.
The interreligious gesture brought tears to some Muslim women of the 180 families seeking shelter in the Iligan City National School of Fisheries, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) reported on their website.
“The OPAPP is currently conducting a series of ‘social healing’ activities in Lanao del Norte that aim to restore trust and respect among the different ethno-religious groups in the affected areas,” the article said.
With the ongoing crisis in Marawi proving to be a challenge for Maranao unity, the residents who have spent a month in the facility took part in an OPAPP-hosted celebratory program welcoming the end of Ramadan.
FULL ARTICLE FROM GMA NETWORK (PHILIPPINES)
This weekend, Muslims all over the globe begin celebrations for Eid al-Fitr, to mark the end of Ramadan.
The name translates as “the festival of breaking the fast” as during the month of Ramadan, Muslims perform one of the five pillars of Islam: the fast.
Food, water and sexual activity are all banned until after sunset.
Ramadan takes place in the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is believed that the Quran’s first verse was revealed during the last 10 nights of this month.
The exact date of Eid depends on the lunar cycle, and it is traditionally celebrated for three days – although from country to country, the festival can last anywhere from one to four days.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE INDEPENDENT (UK)
The Muslim American storytellers of the 21st century need to mine our rich Islamic and American identity and history to tell new stories that will benefit and add to the ever-growing multicultural mosaic that is America.
By Wajahat Ali
In 7th-century Arabia, the storyteller was valued more than the swordsman. The audience sat on the floor surrounding the gifted orator as he captivated the eager listeners with beautiful poetry narrating their history. In the 21st century, the art form may have evolved to include motion pictures, TV shows, theater productions, novels, and standup comedy, but they all serve the same function: storytelling.
Ideas and principles are most effectively communicated and transmitted when they are couched in a narrative. Stories, whether they concern the etiquette and biography of prophets or the trials and tribulations of America’s founding fathers, inform and influence a cultural citizenry of its values and identity.
Similarly, the story of a biracial man with an Arabic name and a Kenyan father elected to the highest office in the land reminds the world that indeed America can live up to its cherished principles of freedom and racial equality, and her citizens are capable of reflecting a magnanimous and egalitarian spirit bereft of prejudice.
If a person were to read these stories comprising the core values of Islamic and American history, one would assume their respective cultural fabrics resemble a generous, messy, lively, colorful mosaic perpetually adding and experimenting with new colors, styles, and hues to beautify its narrative.
FULL ARTICLE FROM PATHEOS
CAIRO (Reuters) – In a display of communal solidarity defying the sectarian violence of Islamist militants, Egyptian Christians in Cairo organize daily meals for Muslim neighbors who must fast from dawn to dusk during their holy month of Ramadan.
Such intercommunal meals are held every year in Egypt, whose Copts are the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they took on more resonance this year after a spate of Islamic State attacks on Copts meant to stoke sectarian divisions.
Dawoud Riyad, a middle-aged Christian man, set up tables in a street near his Cairo home last week, serving free home-cooked meals to hungry passersby when it was time for them to break their fast for the Iftar evening meal.
“They invited me and my kids, and I was surprised. They laid the table out on the street with no difference between sheikhs, Christians or Muslims – they pulled everyone to the table to break their fast,” said Tarek Ali, a Muslim resident.
Several Christian families in Riyad’s area pitch in daily to provide the food and drink in what he calls an effort to unite people of different faiths during a holy time of year. Copts make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s 92 million people.
FULL ARTICLE FROM BUSINESS INSIDER