Interfaith Dialogue – What Mary means to Christians and Muslims

img_0029Interfaith Dialogue is an opportunity to gather with people from other faiths and learn from each other on a specific topic. Four speakers from Muslim and Christian traditions spoke about the recognition of Mary and what their holy books say about her.

The night began with a Welcome to Country, and interfaith prayer for peace and verses sung from Chapter Three of the Muslim Quran:

  1. God chose Adam, and Noah, and the family of Abraham, and the family of Imran, over all mankind.
  2. Offspring one of the other. God is Hearer and Knower.
  3. The wife of Imran said, “My Lord, I have vowed to You what is in my womb, dedicated, so accept from me; You are the Hearer and Knower.”
  4. And when she delivered her, she said, “My Lord, I have delivered a female,” and God was well aware of what she has delivered, “and the male is not like the female, and I have named her Mary, and have commended her and her descendants to Your protection, from Satan the outcast.”
  5. Her Lord accepted her with a gracious reception, and brought her a beautiful upbringing, and entrusted her to the care of Zechariah. Whenever Zechariah entered upon her in the sanctuary, he found her with provision. He said, “O Mary, where did you get this from?” She said, “It is from God; God provides to whom He wills without reckoning.”

Mary in Islamic tradition

Shaikh Mohammad Hamed from the Mayfield Mosque, began by saying: “To present Mary, we need more than one lifetime.”

In the Islamic tradition she is a perfect example of chastity, obedience, devotion and piety.

Chosen by Allah above all other women as the mother of the highly ranked prophet Jesus, she is the “Mt Everest” – model for all people to aspire to.

Mary is the only woman mentioned by name in the Quran and the only female to have a chapter of the Quran named for her. She is one of few characters whose life is written about in detail.

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Muslim-Christian meeting in Taizé helps young people dialogue

Discussion began with a key question: How to engage in dialogue without renouncing the belief that one’s own religion leads to the Truth?

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Young Christians and Muslims from across France who participated in a three-day event at Taizé Ecumenical Community say they not only experienced dialogue for common good but also became aware of fundamental faith questions.

Filling three rows under a church marquee, participants addressed a series of tough questions from the organizers, including: Do you admire anything in each other’s religion? Has this diminished your commitment to your own religion?

Among those attending were Samia, a Muslim from Syria; Eglantine, Sylvain and Anne-Sophie, all French Catholics; Lydia, a German who was raised in a “strict” Protestant family; Marvin, a Muslim from Guinea; and Bart, a Pole who lives in the United Kingdom.

Their discussion began with a key question: How to engage in dialogue without renouncing the belief that one’s own religion leads to the Truth?

Each participant sought to answer to this delicate question, drawing on the comments by Auxiliary Bishop Jean-Marc Aveline of Marseille, who is president of the Council for Interreligious Dialogue of the Bishops Conference of France (CEF).

“If I claim to have the truth, it implies that I have had a good look around,” Bishop Aveline said. “Thus, I think that God enables me to discover the faith a little more deeply through others.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM INTERNATIONAL LACROIX 

With A Passion For Interfaith Dialogue And Diversity, Joel N. Lohr Takes Over At Hartford Seminary

Joel N. Lohr, the new president of Hartford Seminary who arrived in the West End earlier this month from California, is poised to transform the small nondenominational graduate school into a more prominent trailblazer for Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations.

“My hope is to continue to raise the profile of the institution, locally here in Hartford, but also nationally and globally,” Lohr said. “I’m just delighted to be here.”

Lohr, 43, called the historic seminary a small microcosm of global life, teeming with diverse perspectives that have long stirred his passion for interreligious dialogue.

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He smiles in recounting Hartford Seminary’s storied past dating to 1834 — the first seminary in the country to admit women, to create an accredited Islamic chaplaincy program, to establish a center devoted to the study of Christian-Muslim relations. Today, the seminary has about 200 students, alongside 17 core faculty members and associates.

Lohr, who is 6 feet 8 inches tall, tucks one leg beneath the other while sitting in the seminary’s library, which recently acquired his 10 published books.

FULL ARTICLE FROM COURANT 

5 things Christians and Muslims can agree on

20170921T1318-11715-CNS-POPE-MUSLIM_800-690x450At Acton University, Turkish Islamic scholar, Mustafa Akyol, gave multiple lectures on Islam, discussing topics ranging from its history to its controversial practices. Akyol has been speaking at Acton University for many years now and is a respected scholar in fields of Islam, politics, and Turkish affairs. He is a critic of Islamic extremism and the author of the influential book Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty.

After attending both of Akyol’s lectures, a few points stood out to me. He mentioned a few concepts in Islam also emphasized in Christianity, which often go unnoticed.

While there are undeniably a great number of fundamental differences between Islam and Christianity, there are a handful of concepts the two popular religions share.

1. Almsgiving

To both Muslims and Christians, caring for the poor is a duty bestowed upon believers. Both faiths stress the importance of donating to, praying for and protecting the needy. Furthermore, in both Islam and Christianity, it is made clear that giving alms in private is favorable in the eyes of God, as opposed to donations made in an attempt to receive praise and acknowledgement. Islam emphasizes the importance of zakatZakat is one of the five pillars of Islam, and refers to the requirement of believers to give offerings to the needy. The amount is not clear, but in general practice, one gives 2.5 percent of one’s wealth, according to Akyol. Similarly, in the Christian tradition, God commands each Christian to donate 10 percent of his or her earnings to the church, called tithes, which are used to provide for the poor.

[Al-Baqarah, 2:215] “Whatever of your wealth you spend, shall (first) be for your parents, and for the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer; and whatever good you do, verily, God has full knowledge thereof”

[Proverbs 19:17] “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM ACTION INSTITUTE POWERBLOG

Christian, Muslim and Jewish groups join together for ’21 for 21′ interfaith collaboration

religionChristian, Muslim and Jewish groups have joined together to celebrate the way young people are promoting interfaith collaboration.

In a world first, three media outlets serving the three Abrahamic faiths have joined forces to set up the 21 for 21 project, which is aimed at finding “21 leaders for the 21st century”.

The project is looking for 21 young people who have made a significant difference to understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths.

“There is a widely held perception that faith communities in this country and elsewhere are in constant conflict. I think that’s actually not the case,” Justin Cohen, the news editor at Jewish News who set up the project, told The Independent.

He said although there were examples of spikes in community tension, “particularly at times of conflict in the Middle East”, overall relations between communities in the UK are “a beacon, an example, for other communities in other countries”.

The project, he said, was “an example and a way of highlighting that as well as celebrating young people who are the future of interfaith understanding and cooperation in the UK.”

The 21 young people – seven Christians, seven Muslims and seven Jews – will be chosen from a range of nominees.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE INDEPENDENT (UK)

Muslim-Christian meeting in Taizé helps young people dialogue

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Young Muslims and Christians discuss their respective beliefs as they share a meal together at Taizé. (Photo by Guillaume Poli/Ciric)

 

Young Christians and Muslims from across France who participated in a three-day event at Taizé Ecumenical Community say they not only experienced dialogue for common good but also became aware of fundamental faith questions.

Filling three rows under a church marquee, participants addressed a series of tough questions from the organizers, including: Do you admire anything in each other’s religion? Has this diminished your commitment to your own religion?

Among those attending were Samia, a Muslim from Syria; Eglantine, Sylvain and Anne-Sophie, all French Catholics; Lydia, a German who was raised in a “strict” Protestant family; Marvin, a Muslim from Guinea; and Bart, a Pole who lives in the United Kingdom.

Their discussion began with a key question: How to engage in dialogue without renouncing the belief that one’s own religion leads to the Truth?

Each participant sought to answer to this delicate question, drawing on the comments by Auxiliary Bishop Jean-Marc Aveline of Marseille, who is president of the Council for Interreligious Dialogue of the Bishops Conference of France (CEF).

“If I claim to have the truth, it implies that I have had a good look around,” Bishop Aveline said. “Thus, I think that God enables me to discover the faith a little more deeply through others.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM LACROIX INTERNATIONAL

Resources on Christian-Muslim Relations

A helpful list of resources on promoting positive interreligious relations from the global ministries division of the United Methodist Church:
FULL LIST HERE

General Books on Interfaith Relations 

 
beyond_tolerance.jpg Beyond Tolerance: Searching for Interfaith Understanding in America, by Gustav Niebuhr—In this lucid account of interfaith encounter in the US, Niebuhr presents historical and current anecdotes, highlighting the need to go “beyond tolerance.” This book is a helpful experiential examination of engagement among faith communities in this country.
517CEru1XPL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_ A New Religious America: How a “Christian Country” Has Become the World’s Most Religiously Diverse Nation, by Dr. Diana Eck—A professor at Harvard University and director of the Pluralism Project [www.pluralism.org], Eck writes this field standard—and eminently readable—book about the religious composition of the US today. It has been out for about 10 years, but it still timely and very helpful.
when_religion_becomes_evil.jpg When Religion Becomes Evil: Five Warning Signs, by Rev. Charles Kimball—Kimball served at the National Council of Churches in the Interfaith Relations office, and is well-qualified to address the issues posed by the title of this book. Library Journal writes, “After 9/11, we all need to consider how religious practice can lead to evil. Kimball includes many religions in his discussion but focuses on Christianity and Islam because they are the largest and are both missionary religions.”

 

FULL LIST HERE