9/11 Brought Them Together. They’ve Been Preaching Love Ever Since

Sarah van Gelder: How did the three of you start working together?

Rabbi Ted Falcon: When 9/11 occurred, I called Jamal, and the two of us did a Shabbat service together. Since then, we’ve taken part in each other’s services, and it has become natural to work together.

When one awakens spiritually, there is an awakening to inclusivity. You start to perceive that each authentic spiritual path is an avenue to a shared universal. To deepen means to explore that territory together along with the ethic that naturally flows from it.

Sarah: Had you done those exchanges before 9/11?

Brother Jamal Rahman: Not much. After 9/11, as a Muslim, I felt a strong need for such a community.

Ted: A lot of attention at that time was focused on the perpetrators of 9/11 as representative of Islam, and we wanted to counteract that. We needed to put public faces on mutual understanding between our faiths.

FULL ARTICLE FROM YES

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Peace picnic memorializes 9/11, brings together all faiths

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They were Muslims, Buddhists, Christians and Jews, children and young parents, seniors and individuals coming from all points of view and life experiences. Together they held candles and prayed and remembered those lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks 17 years ago. But theirs was not a gathering of sadness and anger. They came together in peace and to share something that transforms fear and hatred into love and understanding.

Outside Palo Alto City Hall, about 170 people joined for the 9/11 Multifaith Peace Picnic and Prayers, an annual event founded by Palo Altan Samina Faheem Sundas and American Muslim Voice Foundation. Sundas started the event out of the despair of the terrorist attacks and the blame and stereotyping that some people had focused on Muslims.

FULL ARTICLE FROM PALO ALTO ONLINE

A Vision of Inclusivity: Islam and the Common Good of Humanity

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By Abdulaziz Sachedina

A disclaimer is in place before I proceed to predict the future of millions of Muslims from various cultures and nationalities who adhere to Islamic tradition. I cannot claim to be comprehensive in my assessment, since I am dealing with different manifestations of religiosity among Muslims. My field work in various Muslim cultures warns me against overgeneralizations that can take away the peculiarities of different peoples that make up the Umma — community.

I am both an “insider” and an “outsider” to the tradition and to the community. As an insider, I face specific challenges in my assessment because of an inclination to look at my inherited perspectives and allegiances uncritically. The major challenge to me is to step outside my own community in ways that allow me to explore normative Islamic tradition and evaluate its ability to expand its hermeneutical horizons. How supple is the retrieval and interpretations that are sometimes implicit and at other times explicit in the scriptural sources for application in the modern age? How much of the tradition is relevant to the contexts in which the community finds itself? As an “outsider” academician, I am able to transcend my ties with the Muslim religious establishment and offer honest assessment of the future of the tradition and the community.

FULL ARTICLE FROM PATHEOS

South Carolina interfaith group turns ignorance, hate into opportunities for connection

 

1068147_1_0827-Muslim-Americans-Praying_standardBy Isabelle Cueto The State of Columbia

 

Mayor Hardy King of Irmo, S.C., came under fire just a few months ago for anti-Islam Facebook posts. Back then, he stood by his posts but said he didn’t know much about Islam.

That was when Chaudhry Sadiq reached out to Mr. King, inviting him to an end-of-Ramadan celebration at a Columbia, S.C., mosque, Masjid Noor Ul Huda, where Mr. Sadiq is president. While there, Sadiq said he pitched the idea of hosting a “demystifying Islam” event, and King agreed.

“It was mutual. It was mutually benefiting, it was mutually rewarding,” Sadiq said in a phone interview.

The event, “Demystifying Islam: Understanding Your Muslim Neighbors,” will fill part of the Irmo Town Hall with a library of resources on Aug. 30 for locals to learn about Muslim traditions. Books such as the Quran and other literature on the contributions of Muslims to society will be on display, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A session.

“I hope that people that come will come with the open heart and open mind to understand,” King said. “I hope they’ll go, ‘Oh, OK, I didn’t know that,’ because I didn’t know that.”

Sadiq is president of the Peace and Integration Council of North America, which is a young national interfaith organization based in Columbia. He said what started as a sour situation that drew much attention and backlash was, in his eyes, a great opportunity.

“God has mysterious ways of bringing people together,” Sadiq said.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR 

CAN A MUSLIM AND A CHRISTIAN PRAY TOGETHER?

324(note:  this piece was written in 2014.  As such it is not a “news” item.  However, its subject matter is timeless)

Can a Muslim and a Christian pray together? This is an important question that one has to deal with in his or her mission of Christian/Muslim relations. In the pluralistic world, one cannot completely avoid any level of participation in the worship of the Other. The immediate danger that many Catholic theologians apprehend in such participation is the danger of syncretism. This question becomes theologically nuanced when it has to deal with Christians and Muslims praying together. This article suggests that it is not only possible that Christians and Muslims can pray to one God together, but also, that the aforesaid praying together is essential and should be encouraged.

Christians and Muslims Believe in one God

Christians and Muslims should recognize that, first of all, they worship but one God. They address their prayers to one God in whom both Christians and Muslims place their faith and commit themselves to bend their own wills to the will of the one and the only God. Pope Paul VI affirmed that Muslims are true adorers of the one one God when he wrote: “Then to adorers of God, according to the conception of monotheism, the Muslim religion, especially, is deserving of our admiration for all that is true and good in its . . . worship of God” (Ecclesiam Suam 106).

The recognition of differences is an expression of mutual respect

Nevertheless, one should not forget the considerable differences between the Christian and Muslim confession of God’s unity. The unity of God as a common element between Christians and Muslims needs to be approached carefully for, when Christians talk about God, they talk about one who, “is known and worshiped as Father, Son and Spirit.” Muslims do not accept this Trinitarian understanding of God. Accordingly, the fundamental differences in their understanding of the Godhead should be recognized for the recognition of differences is an expression of mutual respect.

FULL ARTICLE FROM JESUIT.ORG (UK)

Declining Exposure to Religious Diversity

the-10-foreign-countries-that-send-the-most-students-to-american-collegesStudents interact less with peers of different faiths and traditions once they enter college, a new study finds.

Colleges and universities across the U.S., 122 of them, provided data to the Interfaith Youth Core around the 2015-16 academic year about their students’ religious habits and beliefs for the nonprofit’s Interfaith Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS). The data were provided at two different points to show change — researchers will follow a national cohort of students until they are rising seniors in spring 2019 to show how the college experience can shape students’ religious and world views.

Per the report, 7,194 college students responded to the survey.

“We know that students enter college with a commitment to religious pluralism,” Eboo Patel, founder and president of the Interfaith Youth Core (and an Inside Higher Ed contributor), said in a statement. “The IDEALS survey shows that a vast majority report respect for people of other religious or nonreligious perspectives. However, it is important that colleges and universities continue to provide opportunities for these ideas to expand and grow.”

Patel said otherwise, student may retreat into their own social groups, which is particularly troubling in “a moment of heightened division” in the country.

About 91 percent of the students indicated in the survey that they respect people who have religious perspectives different from their own — 85 percent said they admire people of other faiths and beliefs.

Despite this, students aren’t discussing or engaging with religion as much after entering college, the survey found.

Nearly half of students — 43 percent — said they had talked about religious or spiritual topics with their teachers before college, but that number dropped by 18 percentage points in their first year on campus.

In high school, 37 percent of students said, they attended a religious service involving views other than their own, but that decreased to 20 percent in college.

FULL ARTICLE FROM INSIDE HIGHER ED

Tunisians preach tolerance as Muslims, Jews join Christian celebration

1024x576_523199Manifesting a rare exhibition of religious solidarity, dozens of Muslims and Jews gathered in a port area at the Tunisian capital to witness the revival of “The Madonna of Trapani”, a Catholic tradition introduced to Tunis a century ago.

As scores of Muslim residents and Jews of French origin who were born in Tunisia gathered outside the church at La Goulette, prayers were led by a multi-cultural Catholic ministry, including Italians, Sub-Saharan Africans and Asians.

In the past, the procession left the 19th century church of Saint Augustin and Saint Fidèle and headed toward the coast to bless the sailors who were about to take to the sea.

For security concerns, this year’s procession was kept within the church compound.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AFRICA NEWS