Some think interfaith dialogue goes nowhere. A veteran rabbi begs to differ.

web-RNS-CHABIN-KRONISH-100317-690x450Ron Kronish, an American-born rabbi in Israel, has devoted much of his life to dialogue among Jews, Muslims and Christians. His new book discusses the merits of dialogue. He says, the Vatican’s increasingly warm relations with Israel, for example, were rooted not only in diplomatic moves but 35 years of “systemic and substantive progress in Jewish-Catholic relations” fostered by hard-working priests and rabbis.

JERUSALEM – In Israel, when a rabbi, a priest and an imam walk into a room, it’s not a joke begging for a punchline.It’s an opportunity for the clerics to find some common ground and engage in peace building in an often-violent region, says Ron Kronish, an American-born rabbi who has devoted much of his life to interreligious peace building in Israel.

To Kronish, who has a new book out – “The Other Peace Process: Interreligious Dialogue, a View from Jerusalem” – the purpose of interfaith dialogue “isn’t to solve the peace process.”

Rather, said the Reform rabbi, it has defused many a tense situation.

“Our role isn’t political. There are tens of seminars and think tanks working on solving the political peace process,” said Kronish, 71, during an interview in Jerusalem, which he has called home for 38 years.

“It’s not kumbaya, saying nice things about others’ religions. It’s painful and people wince a little, but an atmosphere is created where you can say what bothers you, and there is compassion and caring.”

Over time, Kronish said, “you learn to live with one another, to understand other cultures. Our mission is to keep the hope for peace alive by creating real human relationships.”

In his new book, Kronish relates how ongoing, substantive meetings between faith leaders have fostered better relations on both the grass-roots and national levels.

The Vatican’s increasingly warm relations with Israel, for example, were rooted not only in diplomatic moves but 35 years of “systemic and substantive progress in Jewish-Catholic relations” fostered by hard-working priests and rabbis.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CRUX 

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When Muslims come to the Jewish-Christian table

study-862994_1280-771x514(RNS) — I spent the 16th anniversary of 9/11 at the 16th annual meeting of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations, held under the joint auspices of the Union and Jewish theological seminaries in New York City. Appropriately, the central question before the group was how best to expand long-standing Jewish-Christian interfaith encounters in America to include Muslims.

My assignment was to discuss the use of “Judeo-Christian” language to reinforce the idea of a clash of civilizations. As in when Tony Perkins said on the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” in 2014, “We are a nation that was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, that’s the foundation of our nation, not Islam, but the Judeo-Christian God.”

Or when, last year, retired Air Force Col. Tom Snodgrass, a contributor to a website called Right Side News, referred to “the overt and covert war being conducted by the political forces of Islam in order to subjugate the Judeo-Christian religions and their societies.”

A fellow panelist was Columbia’s distinguished Middle East historian Richard Bulliet, who spoke about his “Islamo-Christian” conception, first published in 2004 as “The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization.” Bulliet’s idea is that theologically, doctrinally, and historically, Islam and Christianity have far more in common than most adherents of either faith tradition realize.

FULL ARTICLE FROM RELIGIOUS NEWS SERVICE 

Christian woman gives £1000 to Muslim family after attack

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A Christian woman has donated £1000 to a Muslim family in the UK after learning that their shop was attacked.

Mohammed Riaz, 58, was attacked in Bradford in July 2016 by three people inside his butcher’s shop, Meat Hut. The three attackers – one of whom was later charged with robbery – damaged Riaz’s shop and left him with injuries on the eve of Eid celebrations.Following the attack however, one woman named ‘Jane’ posted a letter to the family enclosed with a cheque for £1,000.

In the letter the woman said: “Dear Mr Riaz, I was so sorry to read in The Telegraph & Argus of the attack on your shop. I am a Christian, and Jesus Christ taught that when we see someone in trouble we should not walk by without helping.

Kanees Riaz, Mohammed’s wife, says she was astonished by the letter, reports indy100:

“We were astonished – we were in tears because of this woman’s kindness – she doesn’t even live in the area. This shows that in the end race and religion doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter at all.”

Speaking of the trauma, Nafeesa Riaz, Mohammed’s daughter said, “We’re all still traumatised but the community and people from all over have shown huge support which has helped us immensely. We had people from all ages and ethnicities. We can never thank everyone enough for what they have done.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM PAKISTAN TODAY

“OF KINGS AND PROPHETS” PRODUCERS—A CHRISTIAN, A MUSLIM AND A JEW—REFUSE TO SANITIZE THE BIBLE

FDE_ABC_kings_and_Prophets_blog_968by504In 1984, President Ronald Reagan stated: “Religion and politics are necessarily related. We need religion as a guide. We need it because we are imperfect, and our government needs the church because only those humble enough to admit they’re sinners can bring to democracy the tolerance it requires in order to survive.”

Thirty years later, President Reagan’s words still ring loudly in our collective consciousness. But these words could just as easily have been applied to the world of the Bible 3,000 years ago.

It is precisely this historic and often unavoidable connection between religion and politics that led the three of us—a Christian, a Muslim, and a Jew—to join together to do what many in Hollywood deemed impossible: launch a Biblically-themed network television show about the collision of politics and religion that would appeal to both faith-based and secular audiences.

The show, called Of Kings And Prophets, debuted on ABC on Tuesday, March 8 at 10PM. It tells the story of one of the most complex and beloved characters in the Bible: King David. The biblical David is revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike—nearly half the population of the entire planet—as the model of pious kingship.

Yet, although David has been lionized as pious, God-fearing, loving, and just, he was also deeply flawed. He was vain. He was vengeful. He was lustful. He killed his friends and he betrayed his wives (and he had a lot of wives). This is to say, the Biblical David was human, just like we all are. And as such, he was imperfect. Just as we all are.

FULL ARTICLE FROM RELIGION DISPATCHES

Christians, Muslims and Jews will gather to support Irving mosque

Niqab should not be election issue, say Christian, Muslim and Hindu leaders in Canada

mohammad-mazirLeaders from different religions gathered in St. John’s on Thursday and were united in their belief that wearing of the niqab should not be an election issue.

The niqab has become a divisive federal election topic in recent weeks, with the Conservative government vowing to fight a Federal Court of Appeal ruling saying women shouldn’t have to remove niqabs, which cover their faces during citizenship ceremonies.

Leaders from the Anglican, Catholic, Muslim and Hindu religions all took part in the meeting on Thursday, organized by the Religious Social Action Coalition.

While the focus was on poverty reduction, the niqab issue wasn’t far from their minds.

Mohammed Mazir, with the Muslim Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, doesn’t think the niqab should be part of anyone’s campaign.

“It’s really an issue which I think certain politicians feel they can make some points and gain some ground,” he said after the meeting.

“That’s up to them, whether the public will support them or not. As far as we’re concerned, it’s totally a non-issue.”

Rami Wadhwa

Rami Wadhwa hopes that Canadians will get used to the niqab the same way they did with Sikh turbans in years past. (CBC)

FULL ARTICLE FROM CANADIAN BROADCASTING COMPANY 

Omar Sharif wasn’t the only Muslim actor famous in America. Here are 5 others

21688Omar Sharif, the much beloved Egyptian-born Hollywood actor and co-star of “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Doctor Zhivago,” two of the most acclaimed films of all time, died Friday. Sharif, 83, was one of a growing list of Muslim actors (he converted), and certainly one of the most famous. Here are some other actors who are also religiously or culturally Muslim.

1. Shohreh Aghdashloo

Her name may not trip off the tongue when trying to name a Muslim star, but this Iranian-born actress was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in the 2003 movie “House of Sand and Fog.” She has appeared since in “X Men” and “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” She narrates a ton of audiobooks and writes some of her own. Her most recent book, “The Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines” was about her childhood in Iran. She told the Los Angeles Times, “That’s right, although if I’m asked what religion I am, I say I was born a Muslim. I don’t introduce myself as a Muslim woman.”

2. Aasif Mandvi

The Indian-American comedian best known for his stint as a correspondent on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” has a long acting resume. He’s got a degree in theater and appeared on Broadway in 2002’s popular revival of “Oklahoma!” directed by British director Trevor Nunn. He is currently appearing in HBO’s “The Brink” and the web series “Halal in the Family,” a project that skewers Muslim stereotypes. In 2015 he told Religion News Service he is a “cultural Muslim.”

FULL ARTICLE AT DESERET NEWS