JTA — A mosque that opened recently amid protests in a heavily Jewish part of London announced plans to host an exhibition celebrating Muslims who saved Jews during the Holocaust.
Golders Green Mosque is set to feature the exhibition prepared by the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Israel at the beginning of the new year, The Jewish News of London reported Thursday.
FULL ARTICLE FROM TIMES OF ISRAEL
In an age where religious persecution is spreading at speed, it is crucial to consider steps which need to be taken to prevent further acts of religiously motivated violence. If it is not possible to prevent this altogether, then we must, at least, consider how we slow it down. Engaging in political dialogue and stressing the need to adhere to international legal standards and states’ international law obligations is not nearly enough.
If we take into consideration the fact that in most states, it is predominately religious minorities that are being persecuted, it becomes clear that the only way to prevent religious persecution is to ensure the right to freedom of religion or belief for all, whether one belongs to the majority or minority groups. The majority group plays a critical role in addressing the persecution of minorities. Their influence on the situation for minority groups cannot be downplayed. Hence, today, more than ever, it is crucial to open an interfaith dialogue.
Interfaith dialogue, which refers to an exchange among religious communities on issues of mutual concern, explores the “engagement of the world’s religious traditions around theological questions and in their efforts to collaborate on questions of peace, human rights, and economic and social development.”
Actors which are often neglected in these debates are businesses. Businesses should have, at the forefront of their corporate governance policies, an acute focus on adherence to human rights (including the right to freedom of religion or belief for all) in states where they manufacture, buy or sell their goods. They must maintain an open dialogue with local and national authorities about the need to adhere to human rights standards. Similarly, they must require their local partners to comply with the internationally recognized standards.
FULL ARTICLE FROM FORBES
Every month, Christians and Muslims from Milan to Mecca, Kansas to Kuala Lumpur find common ground in an unusual place: a desert country the size of Maine surrounded by war zones.
In Jordan, a royal family recognized as descendants of the prophet Muhammad, and a citizenry of Christians and Muslims who have lived side by side for centuries, have been playing an outsized role in fostering dialogue and common understanding among the world’s faiths.
Participants and observers say Jordan’s interfaith drive is not political expediency or a PR stunt; rather it is the continuation of a unique homegrown tradition of celebrating faiths’ common bonds and values that the kingdom has taken to the world stage as an answer to growing polarization and sectarianism.
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Jordan’s first call to action was in the wake of 9/11 and the sectarian violence and terrorism triggered by the Iraq War next door.
King Abdullah crafted and promoted a response – the Amman Message, a document clarifying the central tenets of Islam, rejecting terrorism, extremism, and violence, and denouncing the practice of declaring other Muslims as “apostates.”
Jordan’s decade and a half of interfaith activism is being recognized: Last month King Abdullah was awarded the 2018 Templeton Prize for the country’s interfaith work, becoming only the second Muslim recipient of an award previously granted to the Dalai Llama and Mother Theresa.
FULL ARTICLE FROM YAHOO NEWS
While most British Muslims might be indifferent to the celebrations underway this season, perhaps we can play a small part in reviving the generosity, kindness and true Christmas spirit associated with the holiday.
It’s Christmas time and so it hasn’t taken long for a national newspaper to run a feature implying British Muslims are poorly integrated for “refusing to celebrate a Christian holiday”. The irony of this pernicious Islamophobia, feebly hiding behind the banner of defending the Judeo-Christian values of our country, is that it is bereft of any meaningful understanding of Islam.
You see, the thing is, Muslims love Jesus.
In fact, the Prophet Muhammad said: “The dearest person to me in friendship and in love, in this world and the next is Jesus, the son of Mary.”
It may come as a surprise to many to learn that Jesus is mentioned in the Quran over 100 times, while the Prophet Muhammad, by contrast, is mentioned just five times. Described as the best woman ever to have set foot on earth, there is a whole chapter in the Quran named “Mary” and she is the only woman mentioned by name in the holy book.
It’s not just that Muslims love Jesus – we believe him to be one of the greatest messengers of god. We believe in his miraculous birth. We believe that god gifted him with the ability to bring the dead back to life, heal the leper and bring sight back to the blind and, like Christians, we believe in his second coming back to this world.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE INDEPENDENT (UK)
A video made by the Egyptian Fatwa Institute and uploaded to YouTube earlier this month encourages Muslims to extend holiday greetings to Christians and to maintain friendly relations with those around them, regardless of their religion.
“Congratulating non-Muslims during their holidays is encouraged by Islam, and is in keeping with the noble manners introduced by the Prophet Muhammad,” the narrator says, in a translation provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
FULL ARTICLE FROM TIMES OF ISRAEL
At Bellarmine, an all-boys Catholic school in San Jose, Calif., I was often the token Muslim and probably the only person who began freshman year thinking the Eucharist sounded like the name of a comic book villain. I eventually learned it’s a ritual commemorating the Last Supper. At the monthly Masses that were part of the curriculum, that meant grape juice and stale wafers were offered to pimpled, dorky teenagers as the blood and body of Christ.
During my time there, I also read the King James Bible and stories about Jesus, learned about Christian morality, debated the Trinity with Jesuit priests and received an A every semester in religious studies class. Twenty years later, I can still recite the “Our Father” prayer from memory.
Growing up, I’d been taught that Jesus was a major prophet in Islam, known as “Isa” and also referred to as “ruh Allah,” the spirit of God born to the Virgin Mary and sent as a mercy to all people. Like Christians, we Muslims believe he will return to fight Dajjal, or the Antichrist, and establish peace and justice on earth. But it was everything I learned in high school that came together to make me love Jesus in a way that made me a better Muslim.
Even though I don’t personally celebrate Christmas, the season always makes me think of his legacy of radical love. This year, it’s especially hard to understand how Trump-supporting Christians have turned their back on that unconditional love and exchanged it for nativism, fear and fealty to a reality TV show host turned president.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES
BEIRUT — The Iranian cultural attaché stepped up to the microphone on a stage flanked by banners bearing the faces of Iran’s two foremost religious authorities: Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic, and Ayatollah Khamenei, the current supreme leader.
To the left of Ayatollah Khomeini stood a twinkling Christmas tree, a gold star gilding its tip. Angel ornaments and miniature Santa hats nestled among its branches. Fake snow dusted fake pine needles.
“Today, we’re celebrating the birth of Christ,” the cultural attaché, Mohamed Mehdi Shari’tamdar, announced into the microphone, “and also the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.”
“Hallelujah!” boomed another speaker, Elias Hachem, reciting a poem he had written for the event. “Jesus the savior is born. The king of peace, the son of Mary. He frees the slaves. He heals. The angels protect him. The Bible and the Quran embrace.”
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES