Tri-Faith Service in New York City

Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, one of America’s oldest Protestant congregations, recently held a Tri-faith event during a Sunday worship service.  You can watch it here:


NEW YORKFeb. 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Marble Church has been a pioneer in interfaith cooperation for decades. On February 3rd, as part of the United Nations’ World Interfaith Harmony Week, Senior Minister Dr. Michael Bosinvited Rabbi Rachel Ain from Sutton Place Synagogue, and Imam Khalid Latif, Executive Director and Chaplain for the Islamic Center at NYU, to talk about the future of faith and how it can work for the common good. Watch here:

The three religious leaders shared their thoughts on their own faith journeys, how religion is shaping our youth today, and what we can do to combat racism and hate in the world.

“People are seeking something. New York is a really big place where even though there are so many people you can feel alone and religion can give you that home base that so many of us need.” – Rabbi Rachel Ain

“The fundamental purpose of a house of God is that the attentiveness is not meant to be towards the house but towards God…God’s gatherings are based on principles of inclusivity, not exclusivity – whereas many of our gatherings are not just based on who we let in, but who we keep out.” – Imam Khalid Latif

“There is this provocative statement that was made 300 years ago by Jonathan Swift, the writer, poet and pastor; He said, ‘we have just enough religion to make us hate one another but not enough to make us love one another.’ This is a halting statement because I think we recognize there’s truth in it and in the same way the answer is also in it. The solution is not for us to back away from our religion. It’s to go deeper into our religions. That is what we have done today and I hope it provides hope for us all. – Dr. Michael Bos




Meet the ‘Muslim Mother Teresa’ who feeds 500 people a day!

431182_1767533_mt-1_updatesKnown affectionately as the ‘Muslim Mother Teresa’ for the noble cause she has dedicated her life towards, Montreal’s Sister Sabariah Hussein feeds up to 500 people a day.

She cooks for a total of 400 to 500 homeless, needy or lonely people with a help of volunteers.

“People who are really in dire need of company. And it’s a good thing. I saw the improvement. They’re becoming more cheerful in the company of people whose situation is almost like them, and then they enjoy the meal better,” Sabariah explains.

She adds: “I feel a little different because Mother Teresa doesn’t cook.”

However, the food that Sabariah prepares is as good as her caring nature.

“The food? I don’t know what word to explain the food. The food is delicious and it’s always good, and she always wants to make sure that you eat,” Sabariah’s colleague Angela Rashida Thomas says.


Life under ISIS led these Muslims to Christianity Yuliya Talmazan

Four years have passed since the Islamic State group’s fighters were run out of Kobani, a strategic city on the Syrian-Turkish border, but the militants’ violent and extreme interpretation of Islam has left some questioning their faith.

A new church is attracting converts. It is the first local Christian place of worship for decades.

“If ISIS represents Islam, I don’t want to be a Muslim anymore,” Farhad Jasim, 23, who attends the Church of the Brethren, told NBC News. “Their God is not my God.”

Religious conversions are rare and taboo in Syria, with those who abandon Islam often ostracized by their families and communities.

“Even under the Syrian regime before the revolution, it was strictly forbidden to change religion from Islam to Christianity or the opposite,” said Omar, 38, who serves as an administrator at the Protestant church. (He asked for his last name not to be revealed for safety reasons. The church’s priest declined to be interviewed.)

“Changing your religion under ISIS wasn’t even imaginable. ISIS would kill you immediately,” he added.

While residents are still dealing with the emotional scars left by the brutality of ISIS, Omar says many people in Kobani have been open-minded about Christianity.


Muslim, Jewish college presidents focus on common goals with Christian educators

webRNS-Interfaith-CCCU1-020419ASHINGTON (RNS) —  Like most college presidents, Ari Berman and Hamza Yusuf care about giving their students the best education possible in the classroom.

They also want to support their students’ rights as people of faith.

Faith-based schools help students “to contextualize our lives in a greater mission, to have a sense of holiness about everything that we do,” Berman, president of Yeshiva University in New York, told a gathering of Christian college presidents in the nation’s capital last week (Feb. 1).

The Yeshiva University president’s comments prompted an “Amen” from an audience member.

Berman and Yusuf, president of Zaytuna College in California, took part in an interfaith panel focused on what faith-based schools from diverse backgrounds have in common. The panel, which also included presidents of Mormon, Catholic and Protestant schools, took place at the end of the Presidents Conference of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, an evangelical consortium of more than 180 schools.

Like their counterparts, both Zaytuna College and Yeshiva University aim to reinforce their religious traditions to a younger generation as they educate them in fields of study ranging from liberal arts to law, their presidents said.

They defended their institutions as alternatives for students of faith who may be met with hostility from college professors at secular schools who consider their religion to be superstition or fellow students who don’t understand their beliefs.


‘We’re all children of Abraham’: The patriarch that unites Jews, Christians and Muslims

588e7b72a77c8.imageIn preparation for Sunday’s sermon, the Rev. Cress Darwin reviews the biblical book of Genesis.

He finds the story where God orders Abraham to leave his home and promises him numerous descendants comparable to the sand on the seashore and stars in the sky.

Darwin, who leads Second Presbyterian Church in Charleston, admires Abraham for his obedience and faithfulness.

“The hope that I take is that if God can use some of these characters, he can certainly use us,” Darwin said.

Abraham isn’t only revered by Christians. He’s a central figure in Judaism and Islam as well.

While the faiths are unique in their religious beliefs, customs and practices, Abraham is the common forefather that shows the religions have a lot more in common than what some may think.

Abraham is considered the patriarch of monotheism. According to the story recorded in Jewish, Christian and Islamic texts, he was instructed by God to leave his native land where his family worshipped pagan gods.

Texts say that Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. The former founded the Arab people from which the Prophet Muhammad came and founded the Islamic faith. From the latter, Judaism manifested and Jesus Christ is eventually born thousands of years later to initiate Christianity.

The faiths draw spiritual lessons from their elder who endured tests that challenged his commitment to God, including his willingness to sacrifice his son.

For Jews, he’s revered for his obedience. Christians say he was faithful like Jesus Christ. Muslims honor him for his submissiveness.

In the second annual James Sawers Jr. Speaker Series hosted by the Charleston Interreligious Council this week, Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., who teaches medieval Judaism and Islam at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, will lead a session on Abraham’s importance across religious sects.


Philippines: Christians favor law for Muslim autonomy

OTABATO CITY, Philippines

thumbs_b_c_1e267eb471d8ad46bcbcecf231e34a5fAmong the supporters of a new law to give greater autonomy to a Muslim-majority region of the Philippines are local evangelical Christians.

“We will support the law,” Aldrin Penamora, an evangelical Christian, told Anadolu Agency. “The law will make many contributions to the region. I believe that the law will bring economic development and security to the region where Christians, Muslims, [indigenous] Lumads, and other local peoples live.”

The Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) will eliminate injustice against Muslims, he added, saying: “The centuries-long wounds of the historic injustice against the Moro people will heal.”

A referendum starting on Monday is set to grant the Bangsamoros or Moro — a collective term for Filipino Muslims living on an island in the southern Philippines — autonomy after a nearly 50-year process.

“The BOL law’s outcome is so important for our region,” said Anzarrih Mastura Matalam, a local Muslim leader.

“We see the law as the future of the region and as a source of hope for our children. I believe It will give the Moro more development, prosperity, and peace.”


Pope: Respect, dialogue key for peace between Christians, Muslims

10776016-3x2-700x467VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis said his recent visit to the United Arab Emirates, while brief, was a new page in relations between Christians and Muslims at a time when conflict and violence threaten the goal of lasting peace.

Recalling his Feb. 3-5 visit to Abu Dhabi, the pope said during his weekly general audience Feb. 6 that the joint document signed by him and Egyptian Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, the grand imam of al-Azhar and chair of the Muslim Council of Elders, was a step forward in promoting dialogue and brotherhood.

“In an age like ours, in which there is a strong temptation to see a clash between Christian and Islamic civilizations taking place, and also to consider religions as sources of conflict, we wanted to give another clear and decisive sign that, on the contrary, it is possible to meet, respect and dialogue with each other, and that, despite the diversity of cultures and traditions, the Christian and Islamic worlds appreciate and protect common values: life, the family, religious belief, honor for the elderly, the education of young people and much more,” the pope said.