Pakistan honors priest for promoting Christian-Muslim dialogue

ucanews.com reporter, Lahore 
Pakistan 
May 29, 2019
5ceceeb91d395_600A Catholic priest has been honored by the Pakistan government for his “exemplary services” to promote interfaith harmony and peace in his own country and worldwide.
Father James Channan, a Dominican who has spent 50 years following the spirituality of St. Dominic, received an award at the Interfaith Conference 2019 in Lahore on May 17 that was attended by more than 300 people including Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs.Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Pakistan’s federal minister for religious affairs and interfaith harmony, presented the award.
“Many people helped me to reach this place. I praise God, the Church, my community of Ibn-e-Mariam Vice Province of Pakistan, and all my friends,” said Father Channan.“I especially thank my Muslim friends who always supported me and my work and keep on appreciating me to continue my mission to promote peace and harmony among the people of Pakistan.“I am actively serving in this mission to build bridges between Christians and the people of other religions, especially with our Muslim brethren, but still I see there is an urgent need for interfaith dialogue.”
Father Channan said his work to promote peace and interfaith harmony brings him peace and mental satisfaction.“I keep on thinking about ways to bring people of various faiths together, to help them to nurture and strengthen peace among them,” he said.“Everybody is my neighbor, and being a follower of Jesus Christ I have to love everybody — it keeps me motivated and zealous. We always have to share this message that we are one human family, following different religions and faiths but living our faiths we have to promote love, unity and peace.”Father James Channan (right) with Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Pakistan’s federal minister for religious affairs and interfaith harmony, at the Interfaith Conference. (Photo courtesy of Father Channan) 

Covenantal Theology: Can Muhammad’s Ancient Promise Inspire Muslim-Christian Peace Today?

85674Christians esteem the biblical progression of covenants—Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic—finalized by Jesus as he ushered in the New.

But for the sake of religious freedom in the Muslim world, should they embrace a further covenant: Muhammadian?

Modern scholarship suggests the Muslim Prophet’s Christian covenants could offer contemporary guidance; they already influenced a favorable verdict in the case of Christian Asia Bibi in Pakistan.

After eight long years on death row, Bibi was acquitted of blasphemy by the Muslim nation’s Supreme Court in late October. The Christian mother of five had been sentenced for uttering contempt for Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, while attempting to drink water from a well.

The three-judge panel ruled that contradictions in accuser testimony and Bibi’s forced confession by a local cleric rendered the charges invalid.But in the official court document, one justice went as far as to partially base his judgement on how Bibi’s accusers violated an ancient covenant of Muhammad to the Christian monks of Mount Sinai—“eternal and universal … not limited to [them] alone.”

“Blasphemy is a serious offense,” wrote judge Asif Khosa, “but the insult of the appellant’s religion … was also not short of being blasphemous.”

He referenced a 2013 book by John Morrow, a Canadian convert to Islam. The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World is an academic study of six treaties commanding the kind treatment of Christians, reportedly dated to the seventh century.

Each similar in scope, they command Muslims not to attack peaceful Christian communities, to aid in the construction and repair of churches, and even to allow self-regulation of tax payments.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIANITY TODAY 

How my Muslim-Catholic family celebrates Christmas

Soul
A tandoori spiced turkey and fruit filled stockings are the holiday traditions of one young family

For most of my life, Christmas was just another day. Growing up in a Pakistani-Muslim family just outside of Toronto, I saw Christmas as a holiday that came with some much-needed vacation time and excellent Boxing Day sales.

Once in a while, my parents would get into the holiday spirit, and we’d invite our friends over to eat turkey and stuffing. They would put Christmas carols on YouTube and wear red and green shirts, and we’d pretend like we knew what we were doing when it came to celebrating the holiday. Though, one thing we never did have was a tree. That seemed to be what set us apart from the people who really celebrated Christmas.

Christmas-740x741But most years, instead of anything official, we’d go to see a movie together on Christmas Day or just hang out at home as several feet of snow fell outside.

All of that changed when I met my husband. His Dutch-English Catholic family celebrated Christmas just the way I had imagined people did. There was a massive tree by the fireplace, decorated with gold and red tinsel, ornaments from their childhood hanging all over. Green garland covered the banisters along the staircase and cottony fake snow adorned the hutch in the dining room, with a full winterscape complete with baby Jesus on top.

The house smelled like turkey, which had been cooking for several hours. There was baked brie with cherry jam and shrimp cocktail on the coffee table in the living room. It was wonderful–it was everything I thought Christmas was–at least from what I had seen on TV.

FULL ARTICLE FROM GROK NATION

Christians, Muslims and Hindus together celebrate Diwali, the ‘festival of lights’

PAKISTAN_-_1108_-_Diwali_2Some 50 Christian, Muslim and Hindu activists took part in the event (photos), around oil lamps, opened with a prayer recited by a pandit (Hindu priest).

One of the participants was Aroon Kumar, a 24-year-old university student and resident in the capital of Punjab. The former coordinator of the Pakistani Hindu Council told AsiaNews that “the event is slowly becoming a cultural event in Pakistan, a country with an overwhelming Islamic majority”.

In light of the tensions in the country over Islamist protests against Asia Bibi’s acquittal, the young man suggests that “the city administration should sponsor this holiday,” which “can help society strengthen the values ​​of the family”.

For Rawadari Tehreek chairman Samson Salamat, the interfaith event was deliberately kept low key. “We did not advertise it on social media because our hearts are sad,” he said. “In recent riots, people suffered serious losses.”

Speaking about the unrest cause by radicals, Salamat stressed that “what happened on the streets across Pakistan is contrary to the teachings of Islam. Someone is using religion to incite violence. The ‘festival of lights’ represents hope, as well as an opportunity to bring together people from all religions.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM ASIA NEWS (ITALY)

Muslims in Town Adopt a Sacred Hindu Tenet So They Won’t Hurt the Feelings of Their Religious Neighbors

Pakistani-Cow-Farmer-Public-DomainSome people might think that it’s difficult for two separate faiths to coexist peacefully – but this Pakistani province has used food to go above and beyond the concept of respecting their neighbors.

Food is one of the best ways of bringing people together, but in this case, it’s rather the act of NOT eating which keeps the Hindu majority and the Muslim minority in the East-Pakistan province in such a peaceful state.

Cows are sacred to Hindus, and after generations of living together, their Muslim neighbors have stopped eating cows as a means of respecting their Hindu community members.

Despite cows being much less expensive to buy, the Muslims of the Tharparkar district spend their holiday of Eid al-Adha eating goats instead of cows so they won’t hurt Hindu feelings.

FULL ARTICLE FROM GOOD NEWS NETWORK 

Muslims Love Me

 

marilyn-hickey-pakistan

On a rainy Wednesday night in Pakistan, thousands are transfixed by a woman named Marilyn Hickey. The crowd sways, prays and cheers as she exclaims “Jesus loves you, repent of your sins!” and “God Bless you, Pakistan!”

Hickey is an 86-year-old evangelical Christian with a worldwide television ministry based in Denver.  Over the last 40 years, she has traveled to 136 countries to spread the gospel. Her special mission has been to build bridges in Muslim countries like Pakistan, Egypt and Sudan.

“These people are very open and very hungry. And I think I laid a basis for this years ago and I began to say, ‘I love Muslims and Muslims love me’,” Hickey says.

She invited “CBSN: On Assignment” to join her on her eighth visit to Pakistan in July. Correspondent James Brown traveled with Hickey on the 20-hour trip that began in New York, stopped briefly in Dubai and landed in Lahore at 3:30 a.m. local time, two days later.

Brown asked Hickey why she’s been so accepted in Muslim countries. Hickey responded, “I think it’s a God thing. Years ago, I started praying over every country in the world, every day. And when I would hit the Muslim countries — I had such a warm feeling for them.”

When she arrives in Lahore, she is greeted like a matriarch by members of a local Christian church. The parishioners give her flowers, hug her and call her “mom.”

Despite the greeting, Hickey says she likes to keep things a little bit low key. “I don’t want to draw attention. I want to look very simple, very harmless. Here’s some lady, you know, she’s stupid, she’s a woman, she’s old, what can she do? And you get to do everything. I don’t want to look big, but I do advertise big. When I get in the country, I do big time advertisement.”

Pastor Anwar Fazal is hosting Hickey’s visit. He’s like the Billy Graham of Pakistan, and leads its largest evangelical church of 30,000 members. Fazal says he owes his success to Marilyn Hickey because she impacted him so deeply during her first visit in 1995. He became a Christian and followed in Marilyn Hickey’s footsteps in 2006 when he started an international TV ministry which today reaches over 200 countries.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CBSN

The Only Muslims Hollywood Likes Are The ‘Secular’ Ones

the big sickThere’s a phrase that’s become common in the reviews and write-ups of The Big Sick, a romantic comedy that debuted in theaters in late-June: “culture clash.” The film, which was produced by Judd Apatow, stars Pakistani-American actor Kumail Nanjiani. It’s Nanjiani’s first lead acting role, and the movie — which is based on his real-life romance with white American screenwriter Emily V. Gordon — documents their courtship, and his efforts to reconcile their relationship with the expectations of his parents, who continuously try to set him up with “young, single Pakistani girls.” This is where the tension of the plot lies: between Nanjiani and his family, between a white girl and his Pakistani heritage. When Gordon suddenly falls sick and is hospitalized, Nanjiani is compelled to choose between the two.

Early on, the film sets up an obvious narrative conflict. On one side, we have Emily, played by a blonde Zoe Kazan, and her parents, Beth (Holly Hunter) and Terry (Ray Romano). Nanjiani meets Gordon at a comedy club, on what is ostensibly a one-night stand that turns into something more. Her parents, who show up when Emily gets sick, are flawed but well-meaning; their shortcomings are eclipsed only by the obvious love and affection they have for their daughter.

On the other side, we have Nanjiani, son of Pakistani Muslim immigrants, Azmat and Sharmeen, played by Anupam Kher and Zenobia Shroff. The two characters embody every stereotype conceivable about brown Muslim parents: overbearing, disappointed in their American offspring, eager to get their hapless son married to the nearest single brown young woman. Nanjiani’s parents appear almost exclusively in scenes where they invite young women to family dinners in the hopes he might fall in love with them. These young women appear, too, with no backstory or very little dialogue, clinging hopelessly to an antiquated tradition. How silly these women are — not like Nanjiani, who is enlightened enough to pursue a white woman. In one critical scene in the film, as he’s arguing with Emily about the viability of their relationship, he yells, “I’m battling a 1,400-year-old culture!”

FULL ARTICLE FROM GOOD