Faith and Values : Muslims, Christians have much in common

wk25-jan-muslim-christian-zayed-vaticanAll months tend to bring to mind the special events that occur within them; for the month of April, it is Spring and Easter.

Muslims also believe in Jesus, the son of Mary. As a matter of fact, from the 114 chapters that consist in the Holy Qur’an, the 19th one is named after his Mother, Surah Maryam, or Chapter Mary.

Within this chapter, the story of Jesus’s miraculous birth is told. He is mentioned many times throughout the Holy Qur’an. Millions of Muslims are also named after the son and mother, which is Isa and Maryam in Arabic. Thus, if studied, one will find many similarities with the Christian faith when it comes to Jesus, from his virgin birth to his miracles, i.e. curing the lepers and bringing the dead back to life.

The main differences between Muslims and Christians about Jesus regard his divinity and his death. Muslims honor Jesus as a great prophet of God who was not crucified, but taken to the heavens alive, and that he and will reappear during the end of time, the Second Coming of Christ.

A very interesting note is that Easter this year will be on April 21, 2019, which will fall on the Islamic date of the 15th of the month of Shaban, the birth anniversary of the 12th Imam, Muhammad al Mahdi. He is the great-grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE MORNING CALL 

Interfaith dialogue really is relational, accessible

web RNS-Muslim women Washington stateThere is a particular urgency for Catholics to become participants in dialogue with Muslims

FINDING JESUS AMONG MUSLIMS: HOW LOVING ISLAM MAKES ME A BETTER CATHOLIC
By Jordan Denari Duffner
162 pages; Published by Liturgical Press41fbo3Fz79L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_
$19.95

Earlier this year while on a train in Europe, I sat down across from an Arabic-looking man who began reading the Quran. My immediate first reaction was apprehension and fear. My immediate second reaction was to check my implicit yet real bias for what it was, Islamophobia.

Most striking to me was this incident happened just a few days after I had finished a book on Muslim-Christian relations that addressed these implicit biases to which Catholics like myself are prone. It is precisely because these biases are so ingrained and because Islamophobia is on the rise that Finding Jesus Among Muslims: How Loving Islam Makes Me a Better Catholic by Jordan Denari Duffner is such an important and timely resource.

 

Written primarily for a Catholic audience, the book explores present relations between Christianity and Islam. It does so, however, through the lens of Duffner’s lived experiences with Muslims and the ways in which encountering Islam has helped her find Jesus anew. She never intends the book to be a comprehensive analysis or work of systematic theology. Rather, in her words, Finding Jesus Among Muslims should act as a “facilitator of dialogue.” The book raises more questions than it answers, encouraging readers to go forth and learn more. The author’s rich commitment to Muslims and demonstrated courage in entering vulnerable, liminal spaces inspire readers to become active participants in dialogue.

FULL ARTICLE FROM NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER 

MUSLIMS AND JEWS IN IOWA ‘BREAK BREAD’ TOGETHER FOR PASSOVER

salamshalomJewish and Muslim women came together earlier this week in an unlikely place: Bettendorf, Iowa. The group celebrated the Jewish holiday of Passover at the Quad Cities Muslim Center. Passover begins on April 19.

According to a report broadcast by KWQC News, the women are part of an organization called “Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom,” an interfaith group that spends time together and learns about each other’s faiths and traditions. The women say that the more they do together, the more they similarities in their religious cultures.

“The more we’ve gotten to know each other and to know each other’s belief systems we’ve found there are more commonalities than there are differences,” said Jewish cantor Gail Karp.

Franciscans give Jordan’s king award for his peace, dialogue work

20190329T0921-25447-CNS-ASSISI-FRANCISCANS-JORDAN-KING_800-787x514Father Mauro Gambetti, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend a ceremony at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy March 29, 2019. Abdullah was awarded the Lamp of Peace, a top Catholic peace prize presented by the Conventual Franciscans of the Sacred Convent of Assisi. (Credit: Yara Nardi/Reuters via CNS.)

 

AMMAN, Jordan – Jordan’s King Abdullah II urged greater cooperation to take on serious challenges worldwide as he was awarded a top Catholic peace prize by the Conventual Franciscans of the Sacred Convent of Assisi in central Italy.

The annual award, known as the Lamp of Peace, recognizes King Abdullah II’s tireless promotion of peace in the troubled Middle East, support of interreligious dialogue, welcome of refugees and educational reforms.

“To me, the Lamp of Peace of St. Francis symbolizes how peace lights our way forward to a better future for all people, of every faith and country and community,” Abdullah told a packed St. Francis Basilica, housing the saint’s relics and the renowned fresco series of his life.

“But it is our task to provide the fuel for that light, and what fuels global peace is mutual respect and understanding,” Abdullah emphasized, receiving strong applause.

“It is only by combining our efforts that humanity will meet today’s serious challenges – to solve global crises; heal our earth’s environment; and include everyone, especially our youth, in opportunity,” the king told the assembly. Among the crowd were last year’s award recipient, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. Franciscan Father Mauro Gambetti presented the Lamp of Peace to the king.

Abdullah asked for a moment of silence to “remember the suffering families and victims of the terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, two weeks ago. Such evil, wherever it happens, is our suffering, too.”

As Jordan’s Hashemite monarch, the 41st-generation direct descendant of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, Abdullah has upheld the importance of the Christian presence in his country and the Middle East.

“The principles of coexistence and interfaith harmony are deeply embedded in Jordan’s heritage,” he said. “Our country is home to a historic Christian community. All our citizens actively share in building our strong nation. Indeed, Christians have been part of Middle East societies for thousands of years and are vital to the future of our region.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM CRUX 

 

Pope Francis visits Morocco to highlight Christian-Muslim ties

MOROCCO-VATICAN-POPE-RELIGIONRabat, Morocco — Pope Francis landed in Morocco Saturday for a trip aimed at highlighting the North African nation’s Christian-Muslim ties, while also showing solidarity with migrants at Europe’s door and tending to a tiny Catholic flock.

“Dear Moroccan friends, I am coming as a pilgrim of peace and fraternity,” Francis wrote Friday on Twitter. “We Christians and Muslims believe in God, the Creator and the Merciful, who created people to live like brothers and sisters, respecting each other in their diversity, and helping one another in their needs.”

The highlight of the trip is likely to be Francis’ visit Saturday to the Mohammed VI Institute, a school of learning for imams that epitomizes Morocco’s efforts to promote a moderate brand of Islam and export it via preachers to Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

Francis will also visit a migrant center run by the Caritas charity organization and will wrap up his trip Sunday with a Mass and a meeting with Moroccan clergy.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CBS NEWS 

Interfaith Shabbat brings Jews, Muslims together

20190322awShabbat04-3-1553315017Around 7:30 Friday night at Temple Sinai in Squirrel Hill, a visitor standing in the hallway could hear the braided sounds of a Muslim imam chanting Arabic prayer in one room and Jewish clergy leading Shabbat worship songs in the nearby sanctuary to guitar accompaniment.

They had gathered under one roof for the third annual interfaith Shabbat dinner and service, hosted by Temple Sinai with guests from the nearby Islamic Center of Pittsburgh in Oakland.

The event, launched here in 2017 in the wake of a U.S. travel ban targeted at several majority-Muslim countries, had long been scheduled for this Friday night.

But it took on a much more poignant significance coming one week after a gunman killed 50 worshipers at two New Zealand mosques. 

People gather for a vigil in Christchurch's Hagley Park following the March 15 terror attack in New Zealand on March 24, 2019.
The New Zealand terror attack spotlight’s Christchurch’s white-supremacist history

That in turn recalled the terror of the Oct. 27, 2018 killings of 11 worshipers from three Jewish congregations at the Tree of Life / Or L’Simcha synagogue in Squirrel Hill. In the wake of that anti-Semitic massacre, local Muslims and other faith groups rallied to the support of the Jewish community.

On Friday afternoon, in fact, just hours before the sundown start of the Jewish worship services, many Jews and others had attended the main weekly prayer service at the Islamic Center in a similar demonstration of solidarity.

“It’s really beautiful,” said Mohammad Sajjad, executive director of the Islamic Center. “It just reaffirms people in the Pittsburgh community, especially in the interfaith community, they’ve got each other’s backs.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE POST GAZETTE 

My holy envy of other faith traditions

How my attraction to other religions deepened my love of my own

pluralism_drawingEarly in my tenure at Piedmont College, a student who had taken my Religion 101 class decided to become a Jew. As anyone who has tried it knows, this is not the same as deciding to become a Christian. Judaism actively discourages converts, since a person does not need to be Jewish in order to be righteous in God’s eyes. Why take on so many extra responsibilities if you are fine with God the way you are?

The student, whom I will call Natalie, persisted. When the rabbi called Natalie by her new name, placed a large Torah scroll in her arms, and welcomed her to the Congregation Children of Israel, I sat there feeling very happy for her.

I also felt a little jumpy—not because Natalie had become a Jew, but because it was possible that Religion 101 had played a part in her decision and that was not in the course plan. I was focused on teaching the basics of five major world religions, not helping students decide which one was right for them, yet that was clearly what a number of them were doing. Another student decided to be baptized for the first time after a class discussion on the difference between infant and believer’s baptisms. Another got a tattoo of a yin-yang symbol on her forearm during the unit on Chinese traditions. When she showed it to me after class one day, she asked if I could steer her toward the nearest Taoist church.

These students were the exception, not the rule, but they reminded me that there is more than one way to respond to religious pluralism. The Christian majority may have been raised to ignore the truth claims of other religions, but others are strongly affected by what they learn. Some, like Natalie, make a conscious decision to convert, either to another world faith or to another branch of the one they grew up in.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY