Islamic Leader Condemns Boko Haram and Terrorism

Sultan-of-SokotoBY STOYAN ZAIMOV, CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER
May 28, 2014|12:03 pm

The president of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs has condemned the actions of militant group Boko Haram, proclaiming that terrorism “has no place” in Islam. The Roman Catholic Cardinal Archbishop of Abuja applauded those comments.

“Terrorism has no place in Islam,” said the the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, according to Fides News Agency. “We must rise up as always, with one voice to condemn all acts of terrorism, condemn those terrorists wherever they are and try our best as Muslims to ensure peace reigns in our community.”

Cardinal John Onaiyekan, who was previously the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, congratulated the Sultan for his “bold statement,” and said that it has given him the courage to speak out on the issue.

“There seems to be an urgent need for an in-house dialogue within the Nigerian Muslim community,” the cardinal suggested. “Such a dialogue would make it possible to courageously and sincerely deal with currents and movements that create the kind of religious climate and atmosphere in which Boko Haram and similar groups emerge and thrive.”

Boko Haram’s war on the Nigerian government has stretched for close to five years now, and the terrorist group has killed thousands of people in its quest to establish Islamic rule over the country. It has often targeted Nigeria’s Christian population, which makes up close to half of the country, determined to drive them out.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN POST 

Christian and Muslim leaders condemn Jos bombings

Wreckage of burnt vehicle after blasts at Terminus market in Jos, Nigeria[WCC] After bombings on 21 May in the northern Nigerian city of Jos, in which more than one-hundred people have been killed, “heart-felt sorrow and condolences” have been expressed in a joint statement by Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan, chairman of the Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought (RABIIT).

“We strongly condemn the recent bombings in Jos, Nigeria. The location and timing of the bombings clearly were designed to cause indiscriminate and widespread casualties among passers-by, and among rescue workers who were coming to their aid,” read the statement.

Both religious leaders, who were in Jos and Plateau State in 2012 leading a Christian-Muslim delegation in Nigeria, have stressed that the horrific acts which have just occurred in Jos do not represent in any way either of their two religions.

“They have made us even more determined to find ways to support the people of Nigeria and those who are seeking to put an end to violence in the country,” says their statement.

“Peace is a blessing from God. Christianity and Islam call for peace and harmony among all of humanity, and do not condone or allow offensive warfare or aggression,” reads the statement.

FULL ARTICLE FROM ANGLICAN NEWS

Crowds welcome Pope Francis to Jordan at start of Holy Land trip

140524062904-pope-arrives-amman-jordan-00014714-story-tablet(CNN) — After a joyous welcome from the gathered faithful, Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Saturday at a stadium in Jordan on the first leg of a Holy Land trip intended to promote a message of unity.

His trip has been billed as a “pilgrimage for prayer,” with its roots in faith, not politics.

But in a region where religion and politics are so closely intertwined, his every remark will take on an added significance.

The Holy Land trip, also taking in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, is the first for Francis as leader of the Roman Catholic Church, and just the fourth for any pontiff in the modern era.

Everything to know about Pope Francis

Thousands of believers packed the International Stadium in Amman for the Mass in what is a majority Muslim nation with a significant Christian community. Many cheered and waved as the Pope arrived.

Crowds Welcome Pope Francis in Jordan

FULL ARTICLE FROM CNN

‘A Man of Peace’: Christian Seminary Defends Admission of Muslim Student

southwestern-baptist-theological-seminary-chapel-1A Baptist seminary is defending the admission of a Muslim student to one of its PhD programs, noting that it was a one-time exception that does not signify a change in school policy.

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, accepted Palestinian student Ghassan Nagagreh to its archeology doctoral program in 2012, though news of the decision is just now making headlines.

“The student was a part of a dig site … and had a great relationship with our folks and wanted to study archeology,” explained Southwestern Baptist spokesperson Steve A. Smith, according to the Christian Post. “The best place to do that, of course, are the top archeology schools, which are in Israel, but he doesn’t speak Hebrew.”

Smith said that the school — the third largest evangelical seminary in the U.S. — “took a great chance” in admitting Nagagreh, noting that it is a one-time decision that does not signify a change in policy.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE ‘BLAZE’

SYRIAN THEOLOGIAN: MINORITY IN SYRIA IS DEMOCRATS, LIBERALS OF ALL RELIGIONS

In the Arab world today, secularism, democracy and liberalism are the real minorities, writes Dr.Najib Awad, associate professor of Christian theology and the director of the International PhD Program at the Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut.

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In this article, originally published in Arabic in Lebanon’s Al-Mustaqbel daily, Awad makes the case for a new definition of minitory, “one that transcends religion, sect and ethnicity.” In Syria, he says, democrats, liberals and secularists are being “minoritized,” not due to religious affiliations or convictions, but because they are trying to develop a value system that differs from the prevalent norms.

Rooting his argument in French philosophy, Awad argues that “anyone who refused to shape their life and values according to the norms created and enforced by the Syrian regime was transformed into a ‘minority.’” 

Translation courtesy of Syria Direct’s Gavi Barnhard.

Since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution, both Syrians and international observers have been discussing the future of its minorities. Specifically, there is a new discourse among non-Sunni Muslims in Syria, primarily among Christians and Alawites, in which these groups do not identify with the Syrian people, but rather as minorities.

Syrian Christians have begun to reduce themselves to mere minorities in need of protection from the inevitable persecution that is to result if the regime falls. Even social media in these Syrian Christian communities indicate the prevalence of this minority discourse. Western and Arab countries that support the revolution see the Christians and the Alawites in Syria as “minorities” and reduce this complicated issue into a simple matter of “protection.”

From my observation, it doesn’t seem that anyone can actually explain what they mean by “minorities” in the Syrian context. It seems to me that everyone is working with the assumption that there is a single, agreed-upon meaning, however, I’m not sure that they realize that the meaning varies depending on its political, sociological and philosophical connotations.

In sociology and anthropology, “minority” can be defined by ethnicity, race, gender, sex, or age. However, the term carries very different meanings in a philosophical context. In modern philosophy, French philosopher Gills Deleuze and French psychiatrist Felix Guattari suggest that the term ‘minority’ suggests a state of flux, a process of becoming or happening: something which people transform into, or become, due to specific social, intellectual and ethical factors that “minoritize” them.

FULL ARTICLE FROM SYRIA DIRECT 

Jordanian Prince Wants Pope to Develop ‘template of hope’ During Trip

700x450_CNS_15365AMMAN, Jordan (CNS) — Jordan’s Prince El Hassan bin Talal expressed the desire to see “a template of hope” developed during Pope Francis’ May 24-26 visit to the Holy Land.

Speaking with Catholic News Service, the prince welcomed the pope’s decision to have a rabbi and a Muslim leader accompany him on the three-day visit to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Observers believe the gesture underscores the importance the pope attaches to interreligious dialogue.

“Whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim, extremists seem to be doing their best to bring about Armageddon, rather than work toward any form of convivial solution whereby the Holy Land is not only holy in name and description, but also in perspective of the future,” the prince said.

“That’s why His Holiness’ visit accompanied by a Jew and Muslim, I think, is more than just symbolic,” he said in a May 17 interview.

Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Muslim leader Omar Abboud who will be part of the official Vatican delegation, are friends of Pope Francis from his native Argentina. The pope invited them to make the trip with him in order to send what Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, called, “an extremely strong and explicit signal” about the importance of interreligious dialogue in the Middle East, one of the world’s most troubled and conflict-ridden regions.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE BOSTON PILOT 

A Saudi Woman Changing Perceptions, Changing Society

20140506_Sofana-DahlanSofana Dahlan is both a lawyer and the Founder and CEO of Tashkeil, a Saudi Arabia-based social enterprise that incubates and promotes creative entrepreneurs. In her talk, Sofana talks about the identity and capabilities. She also talks about being able to take bold choices and having the courge to change her self and things around her. With her daughter in mind, she explains the obstacles and social barriers that women face. She urges women from all over the world to overcome hardships and define their own identities based on what they want for themselves, rather than what society may want for them.

FULL ARTICLE FROM BOLDTALKS