US Christian wears hijab for 40 days

_82073735_jesseyhijab2Jessey Eagan is a Christian and a mother of two, who works as a children’s director at Imago Dei Church in Peoria, Illinois. This year during Lent, she decided to wear a hijab. She kept a diary of her experience in a blog called #40DaysOfHijab, which is sparkling a debate both in the Christian and Muslim community.

“I wanted to put myself in someone else’s shoes”, says Eagan who hopes her practice of solidarity and empathy with the Muslim community will foster interfaith dialogue.

FULL ARTICLE AND VIDEO CLIP FROM BBC NEWS 

Easter in Islam: Christ is risen and will return

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Easter is celebrated to varying degrees in the Islamic world, ranging from outright illegal in Saudi Arabia to being openly celebrated in some of the Gulf States and the Far East. A natural question is, just where does Islam diverge from Christianity on the matter of Jesus’ AS1 crucifixion and resurrection? The Qur’an says,

[4:157] That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not

 [4:158] Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise

 [4:159] And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgment he will be a witness against them

Here, the Qur’an states clearly that Jesus AS was not killed nor crucified, but was indeed raised to Heaven. Therefore, Easter has no direct analogue in Islam since it is the celebration of his resurrection. However, as the third verse above explains, Jesus will also play a role on Judgement Day.

There is of course some historical evidence that supports the crucifixion as a recorded event, including from some Roman sources. And the verse in the Qur’an itself says quite expplicitly that “so it was made to appear to them”. So it seems plausible that someone was crucified, unless it was all a divine illusion. One of the mainstream views among muslim theologians is that another was crucified in Jesus’ AS place; either as punishment (likely Judas) or as a willing martyr (often cited as Simon). There are also various minority views, in which Jesus AS did die or achieved separation of spirit from his body. The Wikipedia article “Islamic views of Jesus’ death” provides a comprehensive overview of the various interpretations.

FULL ARTICLE FROM BELIEF.NET

‘We Palestinian Christians say Allahu Akbar’

palestine_pop.siThe only Palestinian Orthodox Christian bishop in the Holy Land speaking about the suffering of Palestinian Christians, their unity with Muslims in the Palestinian struggle, about Orthodox Christian martyrs, and Ukraine.

Archbishop Sebastia Theodosios (Atallah Hanna), 49, is the only Orthodox Christian archbishop from Palestine stationed in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, while all other bishops of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem are Greeks. The Israeli authorities had detained him several times, or stopped him at the border, and taken away his passport. Among all Jerusalem clergymen he is the only one who has no privilege of passing through the VIP gate in the airport – because of his nationality. “For the Israeli authorities, I am not a bishop, but rather a Palestinian,” explains his Beatitude. When talking on the phone he says a lot of words you would normally hear from a Muslim: “Alhamdulillah, Insha’Allah, Masha’Allah”. He speaks Arabic, and the Arabic for ‘god’ is Allah, whether you are a Christian or a Muslim.

Your Beatitude, what’s it like being the Palestinian bishop in the Holy Land?

Firstly, I’d like to confirm that I am the only Palestinian bishop in the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. A fellow bishop is serving in the city of Irbid in the north of Jordan; and there are also several Palestinian priests.

I take pride in belonging to this great religious institution that’s over 2,000 years old.

My church has been protecting the Christian presence in the Holy Land and the sacred items related to the life of Christ and Christian Church history.

I am proud of my religion and nationality, I am proud to belong to my fatherland. I am a Palestinian, and I belong to this religious people who are fighting for the sake of their freedom and dignity to implement their dreams and national rights.

I support Palestinians and share their cause and their issues. We the Palestinian Orthodox Christians are not detached from their hardships.

The Palestinian issue is a problem that concerns all of us, Christians and Muslims alike. It’s a problem of every free intellectual individual aspiring for justice and freedom in this world.

We the Palestinian Christians suffer along with the rest of Palestinians from occupation and hardships of our economic situation. Muslims and Christians suffer equally, as there is no difference in suffering for any of us. We are all living in the same complicated circumstances, and overcoming the same difficulties.

As a church and as individuals we protect this people, and we hope a day will come when Palestinians get their freedom and dignity.

FULL ARTICLE FROM RT.COM

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 Rally in Philadelphia Looks Beyond Anti-Islam Bus Ads That SEPTA Is Being Forced To Run

photo-14Scores of Christians, Jews, and Muslims today joined Philadelphia elected officials for a rally in Love Park designed to protest the incendiary bus ads, which link Adolf Hitler to Islam.

“We have to speak out against hate,” said Bilal Qayyum, who converted to Islam more than 45 years ago.  “It does nothing to help the city if we separate people by religion and races.  We have to come together.”

Qayyum says he and many other Muslims who attended the rally were personally offended by the ads.  But Imam Mikal Shabazz, who also attended, encouraged Muslims to stand in peace in spite of the offensive statements in the advertisements.

“It’s the antithesis of Islam to go berserk and cause destruction, violence, and vandalism against Septa — don’t do that,” he said, noting that despite disagreements between Muslims and Jews in the Middle East, there is a history of cooperation between the two groups.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CBS PHILLY 

Islam Requires Muslims to Protect Christians

BRmDegHCYAAiv7pFive years ago, I lost close friends in one of the most gruesome terrorist attack on Pakistani soil. In twin attacks on two Mosques in Lahore, 88 Ahmadi Muslim worshippers were killed at the hands of the Taliban. It was a painfully bloody day. This last weekend, I woke up to sad news from Pakistan that made me relive some of that pain.

Fourteen worshipers were killed, and more than 70 were injured, when two Taliban suicide bombers blew themselves up outside churches in the Youhanabad neighborhood of Lahore, Pakistan.

These attacks on Pakistan’s Christian community are not a sporadic event. They are a part of a very tragic trend. Just over a year ago, another suicide attack at a Peshawar church claimed 78 lives. Not long before this, an angry mob torched over a hundred houses in Lahore’s Joseph Colony, following blasphemy allegations against a Christian man. Another Christian couple — Shama and Shahzad — were recently lynched and burnt alive in a kiln on similar blasphemy charges. As in the Joseph Colony rampage, this mob violence was also led by a local cleric.

While Pakistan’s minority communities are frequently attacked by religious extremists, the state does very little to protect them. Even in the rare instance that the perpetrators of such attacks are caught alive, they get away with a mere slap on the wrist. Pakistan’s ruling party, the PML-N, is especially notorious in sponsoring hateagainst minority communities in an attempt to appease extremist elements that serve their vote bank. In fact, we now know that the Punjab Government under Mr. Shahbaz Sharif reportedly carried out negotiations with al Qaeda.

The reaction from the masses in Pakistan is not very encouraging either. The majority continue to remain apathetic to the ongoing persecution of minorities. The few that speak up are threatened and intimidated into silence. All this, while the Islamic faith requires that all Muslims stand up to such injustice.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST