EGYPT: “NO SINGLE MINUTE IS INVESTED IN VAIN” – HOW A DOCTOR PROMOTES RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE VIA HEALTH WORK

Freddy_ElbaiadyFreddy Elbaiady has made history as a politician. But what counts most for the 46-year-old Egyptian doctor is his work at the Salam Medical Center (SMC) in El-Qanatir, north of Cairo. The bridges between Christians and Muslims that are built through this work are sustainable even in times of crisis.

Dr Elbaiady has many professions and ministries. He is a respected radiologist in Cairo, runs a medical centre in his hometown El-Qanatir, is a member of the local church council, and is involved in evangelical church politics in his capacity as one of the members of the Supreme Council of Protestant Churches in Egypt. To the wider public he became known in 2013, when he accepted an offer to join the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated parliament as one of the few Christian members. TV news programs were and still are happy to invite him for discussions on interreligious coexistence, the role of the churches in Egypt and politics in general. No doubt, this man has influence and prestige. But if asked to talk about himself he remains reticent.

His office in the medical centre has surprisingly very simple decor. No thick desk, no leather furniture to receive guests. Dr Elbaiady receives visitors in a small room. In the rear part there is an examination table for consultation. He is content with the front as his office. Only the wooden nameplate on the small desk reveals his role as CEO. Dr Elbaiady works at a large private hospital in Cairo, where he chairs the radiology department. From there, he arrives at SMC by around 3pm, where he works until after midnight, often into the early hours of the morning. “I get along with little sleep”, he says matter-of-factly.

FULL ARTICLE FROM SIGHT MAGAZINE

Advertisements

Fuller Theological Seminary Receives Luce Foundation Grant for Interfaith Dialogue Project

photo copy - Version 2Pasadena’s Fuller Theological Seminary has received a $250,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation for a three-year research-to-resources project that aims to shape public discourse about people of other faiths and witness, “so that such discourse is characterized by convicted civility, not fear and rancor.”

With special focus on Islamophobia and migration in a global society, this will be joint project between Fuller’s Schools of Theology and Intercultural Studies, according to a Fuller Seminary news release. The project will explore how the relationship between American evangelicals and those of other faiths has long been a tenuous and delicate one.

“We live in a divisive era, increasingly so since last year’s presidential election, with Fuller-Receives-Luce-Foundation-Grant-for-Interfaith-Dialogue-Project450heightened displays of xenophobia, especially among evangelical Christians,” says Dr. Yong, director of the Center for Missiological Research and professor of theology and mission at Fuller. “In the latter half of the second decade of the 21st century, evangelical churches across North America remain in need of developing theologies of other faiths and cultures, and practices for relating to and interacting with members of such groups, that are more welcoming than alienating.”

Principal investigators in the project include President Emeritus Richard Mouw, professors Amos Yong, William Dyrness, Roberta King, Ryan Bolger, and Kirsteen Kim, and PhD candidate Matthew Krabill.

FULL ARTICLE FROM PASADENA NOW 

Muslims Join Christians in New Year Celebrations in Iran

Christians and Muslims get together in Christian New Year celebrations in Iran in a show of solidarity and rapport between followers of the two religions.

 iran

A ceremony marking the beginning of the New Christian year was held in Iran, bringing together a host of high-profile Muslim and Christian officials.

The ceremony was titled “The Manifestation of Friendship and Affinity between Muslims and Christians in Iran.”

Present at the event was Archbishop Sebouh Sarkissian, who said he was pleased to see such an event was being held.

“These days when New Year celebrations are being held, it is very important to remember all human beings,” he said, according to a Farsi report by the Honar Online news agency.

He then quoted verses from the holy Bible, which says humans are all brothers, sisters and friends.

“When you pray for me, or when I pray for you, in fact we are worshipping God,” he noted.

He then condemned policies adopted by US President Donald Trump, and said his unwise decisions have pushed the world toward crisis.

FULL ARTICLE FROM IFPNEWS

‘The Sultan and the Saint’ tells of breaking down the unknown

AE-BS-S&S- Day 16-2016-96 resizeWhat impact can one encounter make?

While details are scarce about the meeting between St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan Malik al-Kamil of Egypt in the 13th century amid the Fifth Crusade, it has become an important symbol of interfaith dialogue and the pursuit of peace, even in the midst of great conflict.

The historic meeting of the two faith leaders will receive a fresh look Dec. 26 on PBS, at 8 p.m. Eastern, in the new docudrama “The Sultan and the Saint,” which blends scholarly, documentary-style interviews with dramatic reenactments of the story and with Academy Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons as narrator.

“It just seemed like this is a story for our time,” writer and director Alex Kronemer told NCR. “This idea that a simple Christian friar met with a mighty Muslim leader and together they had a relatively brief encounter that had enormous consequences.”

The story of “The Sultan and the Saint” itself began 30 years ago, when Kronemer, during a trip to Assisi, Italy, encountered a Giotto fresco depicting the meeting between Francis and al-Kamil.

“It seemed incredible that such a thing had happened, and I kind of wanted to know more about it then,” said the Muslim filmmaker, who developed the docudrama with Unity Productions Foundation.

“The Sultan and the Saint” offers a deeper exploration into a story that many Christians and Muslims may know of in passing, but are hazier about the details.

The meeting between Francis and al-Kamil took place in 1219, amid the Fifth Crusade, in Damietta, an important Egyptian port city on the Nile River where Christian soldiers were attempting a siege. At that point, the Crusades, the violent effort by Christians to recapture control of Jerusalem, had stretched more than 100 years.

There are few historical accounts of the encounter. In the film, Francis is depicted as seeking to end the Crusades through preaching the Gospel. While the meeting did not bring about peace, Franciscan historian Fr. Michael Cusato said in the film, the encounter represented a “faith exchange,” as both men testified to God’s role in their own lives and were able to “listen to the other’s perspective, allowing God to be God in the lives of both of them.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER 

Bahrain Faith Group Visits Israel Amid Jerusalem Tensions

downloadDUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An interfaith group from Bahrain is visiting Israel amid turmoil there over U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital, angering some in the island nation who support the Palestinians.

The group’s trip comes after two U.S.-based rabbis have said that Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa thinks that the longtime boycott of Israel by Arab countries should end.

While organizers repeatedly described the trip as nonpolitical and unrelated to its government’s policies, the timing comes as Bahrain increasingly looks like the test case for other Gulf Arab nations in seeing what could happen if they recognize Israel.

A group of 30 people from Bahrain, including Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews and Muslims, flew to Israel for the event. They plan to visit universities and talk to officials there about topics of common interest, said Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center.

FULL ARTICLE FROM US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT 

Lost faith in humanity? These Christian, Jewish and Muslim volunteers will build it back up

INDY STAR

Christians, Muslims and Jews working and praying together to provide homes for two families — it almost seemed silly to write about people of different religions uniting for a common cause, as though it were something unusual.

After all, we often go to school and go to work with people of different beliefs, different cultures, different colors. We meet our neighbors and our friends across different walks of life.

And yet … the strife is often what people notice.

“I think that we are living through a time of profound uncertainty and disunity and polarity, so anything that helps us meet each other in a respectful and civil way is just critical,” said Rabbi Brett Krichiver of the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation. “Especially around those things that we believe in so passionately and that very often divide us.”

So the Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity‘s annual interfaith build this fall seemed commonplace, and yet remarkable.

FULL ARTICLE FROM INDY STAR

Saudi Arabia scholar issues fatwa, says Muslims may pray in churches and synagogues

1510312130_eid-al-adha

A top scholar from Saudi Arabia has said that Islam is a religion of tolerance and mercy and that Muslims should spread true Islam and should be tolerant in their treatment of people from different religions.

Abdullah bin Sulaiman Al-Manea, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, said that Islam does not support violence, intolerance or terror. Al-Manea gave a fatwa (religious advisory opinion), stating that Muslims may pray in Shiite or Sufi mosques, churches or synagogues, according to reports by Al-Anba’ Kuwaiti newspaper.

He added that all the land belong to God and cited the Prophet’s words:  “The earth has been made a place of prostration and a means of purification for me.”

The Saudi scholar said that Islam is a religion of tolerance that Muslims cannot have differences in the basic principles of Aqidah (creed) of Islam, but they may differ in the branches, according to Arab News reports.

Citing an occasion where the Prophet received a delegation of Christians from Najran in his mosques, and allowed them to perform their own prayers, Al-Manea said that this is how non-Muslims should be treated by followers of Islam. He also cited several other sayings of the Prophet which reflected his kindness and mercy on non-Muslims.

The scholar said that Islam spread in several countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, because of the good manners of Muslim merchants. He said the behaviour of the merchants attracted the citizens of these countries to embrace the religion.

FULL ARTICLE FROM INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES