Abu Dhabi priest’s book about Jesus in Arabia to be published in Arabic

na25-JUL-Religious-Tolerance.jpgJesus of Arabia was translated by a four-person Christian and Muslim Arab team from publishers Motivate

A UAE-based Christian priest’s book showing how Jesus had more in common with Arabian Islamic culture rather than western is to be published into Arabic.

Jesus of Arabia was penned by Rev Andy Thompson, the chaplain at St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Abu Dhabi, and it also examines the bridges between Islam and Christianity.

The book was first published in English in 2014 and now the Arabic version will launch at St Andrew’s on Tuesday. It is rare that a book written by a Christian resident about Jesus receives such a treatment and Rev Thompson says the event is a pre-Christmas celebration of Jesus for both Muslims and Christians.

“A lot of conversations between Muslims and Christians get bogged down in dogma and it is not really helpful,” said Mr Thompson. “I want to promote education between our two communities which is different from proselytising.

“Education helps us to know one another – meeting with respect and mutual acceptance and we can only do that by recognising our shared heritage in Jesus,” he said.

The Arabic version took about a year to produce, spans 200 pages and was translated by a four-person Christian and Muslim Arab team from publishers Motivate over a two to three-month period. The team carefully translated the text to maintain the respectful tone of the English version.

“Getting the Arabic flavour for that was important so we need both Christian and Muslim Arab translators to make it work. There was an ongoing dialogue between them,” said Mr Thompson.

Over the centuries, Jesus has been recreated in a western image.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NATIONAL (UAE)

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Vicar And Imam Star In Amazon Christmas Ad

The video shows a real vicar – Rev Gary Bradley from Parish of Little Venice – with an imam played by Zubeir Hassam, the principal of the Muslim School Oadby in Leicester. The pair enjoy a drink together before ordering each other knee pads using Amazon’s service.

Bradley told Christian Today the ad had “a very important message, particularly at this time of year”. He said in his parish “we have people of all faiths sharing the area and it is important that we understand and relate to each other”.

He added: “For the last 15 years people of different faiths have come together, with their faith leaders, to celebrate united worship before Christmas, worship which focuses on peace and the need to strive for unity.”

he two plan to meet regularly after filming together. Bradley said it was a particular pleasure “to consolidate the pastoral and theological concerns which bind us together”.

Simon Morris, director of advertising at Amazon, said it was an “authentic and charming story” adding he had consulted the Church of England, the Muslim Council of Britain and the Christian Muslim Forum before filming.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIAN TODAY 

Rise of the Muslim Bishop

2015_9$largeimg04_Sep_2015_000746270It was not for nothing that detractors called Archbishop Josiah Idowu Fearon of the Anglican Communion a Muslim Bishop: he is a bishop, no doubt; but obviously, he is not a Muslim, even though he knows the religion better than many Muslims.
Once His Grace was invited to one of those many unending Northern meetings to give a talk appropriate for the occasion. Given the choice of theme and topic, he chose what in the circumstance he considered was the most important one facing the peoples of the North – the disappearing unity, equality and essential oneness of its people. He chose to reunite them under God.

As he rose to begin his lecture in Transcorp Hilton’s Congress Hall, he raised his hands as if in prayer – and at that moment you could see it all: here was this unassuming, unpretentious and self-effacing tender of the vineyard who possessed nothing besides his ecclesiastical collar exuding such moral presence as dominated all that was before him.
He chose to give an exposition of the meaning of Surat at-Ikhlas, the 112th chapter of the Holy Quran.
Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim    

Qul huwallahu ahad

Allahus samad ….

Beginning as every Surah does – in the Name of God, and in anticipation of His mercy and grace, Bishop Fearon articulated the Quranic concepts of the unity and the uniqueness of God; and drew the attention of the audience especially to the implications of this for them. It was a long and meaningful talk; and here Fearon was the restorer of the Christian ethic and raison d’etre of love even in pain, and he was acting as a reminder to Muslims and enforcer of their forgotten duty of pan-Abrahamaic brotherhood and fellowship.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE DAILY TRUST 

An ‘Unholy War’ against Muslims?

The Anglican communion has produced a number of thoughtful reflections on Christian-Muslim relations  a through their UK- based “Christian-Muslim Forum.”   This is one of the pieces the forum produced reflecting on religiously-motivated violence.

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One of the terrible features of our world is how globalisation can bring the worst of international conflict to our doorsteps. Lee Rigby, a British soldier wearing a ‘Help for Heroes’ shirt, was murdered by a man who claimed to be acting in retaliation for attacks on women and children  in ‘Muslim countries’ (though people have religion, not countries).

An innocent man died in a peaceful part of London. A religion – which explicitly tells its followers not to start wars or attack the innocent – was wrongly implicated in this attack. This connection between religion and murder was comprehensively condemned by numerous Muslim organisations, some of them represented in Woolwich a week later. It took very little time for these organisations to respond, mourn for the victim, show solidarity with his family and the local community, call for peace and show us what Islam should really look like.

Nevertheless, almost immediately there was a backlash against British Muslims and mosques around the country. We know that the Woolwich attackers had not come from the local mosques – they were not welcome there. The Muslim community and the mosques were not connected with the murder of Lee Rigby. Yet individuals and extreme Right organisations began to target Muslims, mirroring the inhumane actions of those who have hijacked Islam for violent purposes: violence against women, hate-filled messages, fire bombing places of worship and burning down an Islamic centre in Muswell Hill, north London. We have seen similar attacks against Christians in Nigeria and Egypt. We reiterate that violent attacks are neither Christian nor Muslim.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN-MUSLIM FORUM BLOGSITE 

Interfaith dialogue requires us to embrace difference

_66643923_muslims_in_churchEarlier this month, a prayer service held by Muslims was conducted in a London church. This week, the local vicar apologised for the “great consternation” and for “any offence” caused. The event and its aftermath, however, goes far beyond the actual service itself, and shows how many people in the West view Muslims with suspicion.

The Anglican Church is today fortunate to have Justin Welby as its head as Archbishop of Canterbury. It was under his stewardship that a Muslim addressed the Church of England Synod late last year. Fuad Nahdi, a Kenyan-Briton, eloquently engaged in a discussion with Mr Welby on the suffering of religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, noting that Muslims had suffered greatly at the hands of ISIL.

It is ironic that a few months later, as part of the response to Muslims praying in the Church of England building in London, others from within the church would respond with such vigour.

Indeed, Fr Martin Hislop of St Luke’s in Kingston said: “At a time when Christian men, women and children are being slaughtered in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Nigeria and elsewhere … it is a scandal and an offence that a clergyman of the Church of England should embrace an act of Islamic worship in a consecrated building.”

Fr Hislop is no doubt within his rights to reject the use of a Church of England building for any type of religious worship outside his own. Not all religious traditions will admit the validity of other faiths.

Nor will all traditions uphold the notion that tolerance necessarily means the holding of religious services within consecrated buildings of other religions.

Indeed, not all faiths have that notion of consecration at all. While Muslims might point to the Prophet Mohammed allowing Christians of Najran to carry out their religious rituals in his own mosque, not all have the same viewpoint – and it would be unlikely that Christians might do the same today. Indeed, while the United Arab Emirates encourages the construction of churches for its Christian residents, not all countries in the GCC do the same.

However, this episode in London goes far beyond notions of religious tolerance and interfaith cooperation.

Such relations do not require some kind of multi-faith unity. Indeed, some might argue that genuine interfaith relations requires the recognition that religions are unique and different.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NATIONAL 

Under fire, vicar who said ‘we love Allah’: Liberal clergyman attacked by traditional Anglicans for allowing full Muslim prayer service in his Church

26966D4F00000578-2992645-image-a-1_1426210910059A leading liberal clergyman has come under fire from traditionalist Anglicans after allowing a full Muslim prayer service in his church.

Reverend Giles Goddard, vicar of St John’s in Waterloo, central London, joined in the event by reading a passage from the Bible at the ‘Inclusive Mosque’ event.

He then asked the congregation to praise ‘the god that we love, Allah’, it was reported last night.

It is thought to be the first time an entire Islamic service has been held by the Church of England and has sparked criticism from evangelical clerics.

Orthodox clergyman said the event was against canon law, which prohibits any divergence from the official liturgy.

They argued that it could be ‘offensive’ to Christians who are persecuted for their faith.

Rev Goddard defended his decision to hold the event, describing it as a ‘very moving’ service. He said his intention was simply to offer people a ‘place to pray’.

He told the Christian Today website that everything his church did was legal and within bishops’ guidelines.

Mr Goddard said he was simply offering the Muslims a place to pray, adding that the religions share 'the same God' (pictured, St John's)

He added: ‘It is very much about St John’s being a place of welcome. We understand God as a generous God, a God who celebrates love and celebrates life.

‘We try and make sure we live that out. In that sense we feel very properly Anglican.’

The ‘Inclusive Jummah’ was held in partnership with the Inclusive Mosque Initiative.

It was organised to coincide with the run-up to International Women’s Day last weekend.

The service was arranged by Dr Amina Wadud, a campaigner for gender justice in Islam.

Rev Goddard said the service had not put off Christian churchgoers and his congregation is growing.

He told the Daily Telegraph: ‘We are offering a place for people to pray so it made absolutely perfect sense. We should be offering [a place] to party, we are the Church of England.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE DAILY MAIL 

Christians and Muslims have co-existed peacefully before and must do so again

Mosque's minaret and cathedral's crossesToday I’ll be the first Muslim to address the General Synod of the Church of England. It is a blessing and an honour, and I am humbled by this historic opportunity. But the journey from Noor mosque in my native Mombasa, Kenya, to Church House has been a long and meandering one – full of trials and adventure, but ultimately worth it.

A couple of days ago, Humera, my wife of more than 25 years, asked what would make me consider my life a success. Recovering from a long bout of debilitating illness, I was trying to figure out what would be the best way to pursue the new lease of life that had been granted to me.

“If I can, somehow be involved in reconciling hearts and people. That would make me happy,” I replied.

Many moons spent in NHS wards, surrounded by diversity, suffering and death, not escaping to a zawiyah (monastery) retreat, made me spiritually mature and responsive. With plenty of time on my hands I embarked on a journey of rediscovering my faith and what it meant for our times.

Among the jewels I came across was a hadith (narration) of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, peace and blessings be upon him, which simply said: “Shall I not inform you of a better act than fasting, alms and prayers? Making peace between one another: enmity and malice tear up heavenly rewards by the roots.”

It is a message that all members of the synod would be familiar with, for it echoes Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE GUARDIAN (LONDON)