Peace-building between Christians and Muslims in Lebanon

3642739700_27ece7f930_bLebanon (MNN) – The Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS) seeks to change discussions between Muslims and Christians in Lebanon. In a country that still feels the effects of a 15-year civil war, people often mistrust those outside their own groups. But the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary and its department, the Institute of Middle East Studies, equips leaders to go back to their communities and build peace in the middle of chaos.

Peace-building and the Gospel

Martin Accad, the Chief Academic Officer at ABTS and the Director of the Institute of Middle East Studies explains the goal of ABTS. “We feel very much that our role is not only to develop theologically-thinking leaders, but to also develop leaders that can do works of transformation in society within the area of reconciliation and restoration of communities.”

These students go back to areas where Christians feel out of place in society. As a minority in their country, Accad says there is a sense that they don’t have a place in their culture. But this is not the message of the Gospel.

Christ calls his people to be peacemakers in whatever place they live.

Accad explains, “Peacemaking or peace-building first of all looks at conflict not necessarily as a problem, but as an opportunity. That would be the first aspect of being a peacemaker, but also peacemaking is something you do proactively rather than reactionary, as peace-keeping sounds.”

ABTS seeks to build peace proactively with five key initiatives, three of which are currently in progress.

Initiative 1: Bread and Salt

This unique program brings together both Christian and Muslim youths between the ages of 14-17 who live in the same neighborhood. Though these young people live close by, they may never have dialogued about their faith. ABTS gives them the tools they need to connect on a deeper level as they talk about their personal beliefs and break down stereotypes.

FULL ARTICLE FROM MNNONLINE 

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Peace and Justice in Islam

Importance-of-Justice-in-Islam

by Amal Merchant 

636216610591930866-IMG-20170125-WA0013When people inquire about the basics of Islam, they will probably be told about the five pillars of Islam. Yes, these are the basics and they relate to the practice and the faith, but there is a little more to say than that.

One can declare there are another two great pillars that are integral to the heart of Islam. They are peace and justice.

The word “Islam” comes from the root word Silm and Salaam, which means submission to the will of God and peace. Muslims believe that to attain real peace, one must submit to the divine guidance of God.

Although God or Allah, the infinite, is beyond comprehension or analysis by our finite minds, in the Quran we are given many attributes of God that help us understand him.

Among others, Allah has 99 names such as al-‘Adl, “the Just” and al Muqsit, “the Dispenser of justice” or “he who gives to each thing its due.” Allah is al Rahmaan, “the Merciful,” and al Raheem, “the Compassionate.” He is as-Salaam, “the Giver of peace and blessings” and al Barr, “the Righteous.”

In the Quran, it tells us, “Behold, God enjoins justice and good actions and generosity to our fellows and he forbids all shameful deeds and injustice and rebellion. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.”

We are also reminded that never to let hatred lead us into deviating from justice: “Be just! That is closest to being God-conscious.”

With constantly remembering God, his guidance toward goodness and his warnings against evil, one perfects his/her actions and developed a beautiful character. The Prophet Muhammad says, “God is beautiful, and he loves beauty.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM VENTURA COUNTY STAR