LUCKNOW (Reuters) – A Hindu priest-turned-lawmaker vowed on Friday to convert hundreds of Muslims and Christians to Hinduism on Christmas Day, despite a police investigation into an earlier round of conversions.
Religious conversions in multi-faith India are threatening to sow fresh discord as Muslim groups and opposition parties accuse organisations tied to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party of trying to undermine the nation’s secular foundations.
This week, police said they were investigating a case in which Muslim slum-dwellers complained they had been tricked into a Hindu conversion ceremony in Agra, lured by the promise of cheap government rations and voter identity cards.
But Yogi Adityanath, a four-time member of parliament from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, said an even bigger ceremony to convert Muslims would be held in the northern town of Aligarh as scheduled and that it was an entirely voluntary affair. “We have been doing this every year for the past 10 years. It’s not a conversion, its a homecoming,” he said, adding that the families signing up for the ceremony were originally Hindus.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE STRAIT TIMES (ASIA)
For many months, I have entertained the conceit that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi reads my column. More recently, the conceit is that he reads my mind. Let me explain. Last month, I flew to Rome to participate in the third Catholic-Muslim Forum as a member of the delegation of Muslim scholars and intellectuals. We met with our Catholic colleagues in the forum – 12 theologians and scholars headed by Cardinal Jean-Louis Toulan.
Our delegation was headed by Dr Seyyed Hossein Nasr, the most influential American Muslim scholar, and included the grand mufti of Kosovo, the former grand mufti of Bosnia, the former Algerian minister of higher education, the chairman of the Indonesian Council of Ulema, an Argentinean intellectual and community leader, and scholars from Libya, the UK, Canada and Italy.
The forum is one of the fruits of the Common Word Initiative, launched in 2007 as an open letter to then-Pope Benedict XVI and leaders of all the major Christian denominations. It was composed by Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan and signed by 138 Muslim scholars and intellectuals, including the grand muftis of seven countries, ranging from Egypt to Russia.
FULL ARTICLE FROM AL ARABIYA
(a thoughtful opinion piece reflecting the practice of inter-faith dialogue in a New Jersey community)
By Larry Snider
Last Sunday was a good day. That’s the day I drove my family to the West Trenton Firehouse ballroom to attend the celebratory dinner of Eid Ul Adha and pre-Thanksgiving offered by the Muslim Community of Greater Trenton and Yardley, Pa. While the dates did not exactly correspond — it took place after the Eid and before Thanksgiving — the sentiment was to bring the community together to share a meal and much more than a plate of food.
As the U.S. re-engages in a war against Islamic extremism, it is sometimes difficult to understand and accept the presence of the Islamic faith in our community. It is necessary for all of us to look a little closer, to comprehend a little more and maybe even to communicate with neighbors on both sides of the Delaware River whom we haven’t yet had the opportunity to meet. We are afraid of what we don’t know.
FULL ARTICLE FROM NJ.COM