Jerusalem, art, and the clash of religions

From the New York Times

Jake Naughton – New York Times

A mosque lamp of the sultan Barquq, in the show “Jerusalem 1000-1400: Every People Under Heaven.” Credit Jake Naughton for The New York Times

Three major faiths have laid claim to that city. For Jews, it’s the place where, at the End of Days, the Messiah will appear; rebuild the Holy Temple, twice-destroyed; and sort out the righteous from the rest. For Muslims, the city is sacred as the point from which the prophet Mohammad, after a miraculous night flight from Mecca, began a tour of heaven. To Christians, Jerusalem is a giant walk-through reliquary of Jesus’ life and death, with every street, every stone, soaked in his aura.

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PM Netanyahu meets with East Asian and Israeli religious leaders

From the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

PM Netanyahu meets with East Asian and Israeli religious leaders

PM Netanyahu meets with East Asian and Israeli religious leaders Copyright: GPO/Haim Zach

PM Netanyahu met today with East Asian religious leaders who are in Israel for the first interfaith conference organized by the MFA, the American Jewish Committee and the World Council of Religious Leaders

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Monday, 12 September 2016), met with East Asian religious leaders who are in Israel for the first conference of its kind, a meeting between religious leaders from East Asia and spiritual leaders from Israel,organized by the Ministry of Foreign  Affairs, the American Jewish Committee and the World Council of Religious Leaders.

Among the participants were representatives of the Buddhist, Hindu, Shinto, Jain, Sikh, Taoist and Zoroastrian faiths.

Jews, Christians, and Muslims set out pathways to peace in Assisi

Article in the Tablet

Jews, Christians and Muslims set out pathways to peace in Assisi

Religious leaders celebrating the 30th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s Assisi interfaith peace gathering in 1986 called on people from around the world to continue its legacy to combat today’s indifference and violence. The event between 18-20 September was sponsored by the Rome-based Community of Sant’Egidio, the Diocese of Assisi and the Franciscan friars to reflect on the theme, “Thirst for Peace: Faiths and Cultures in Dialogue.”

Humanity’s relationship with creation “has a direct impact on the way in which it acts toward other people,” said the patriarch, known for his decades of work on the connection between Christian spirituality and ecology. “Any ecological activity will be judged by the consequences it has for the lives of the poor,” he said. “The pollution problem is linked to that of poverty.”

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Interfaith Leaders Call on Individuals to Build Peace

From The Irrawaddy

Too often, interfaith meetings end in grand declarations, plans, commissions and admonitions on improving relations. Here, though is something simple and true, a most valuable call from this important conference:

“If we want to achieve peace, all individuals first need to try to bring peace to our hearts. That individual peace will transmit from one to another.”

“Burma’s first Catholic cardinal Charles Bo agreed.

And we of IRFWP agree whole-heartedly (ed.)

Religious leaders, peace activists and parliamentary members at the pre-celebration of International Day of Peace on Saturday in Rangoon.

RANGOON — Burma’s religious leaders have joined together in urging people to continue building peace on an individual level throughout the country.

Following the new government’s Union Peace Conference—the initial national level peace negotiations that will continue in the coming months at the state and divisional levels—Buddhist, Christian, Muslim and Hindu religious leaders called on people to cease the misunderstanding and hatred between different ethnic and religious communities, at the pre-celebration of the International Day of Peace in Rangoon on Saturday.

Ashin Issariya, a Buddhist monk and writer, told participants that previously there had been misunderstandings and hate speech spread among different communities because there had not been open discussions held in the country.

“We all need to cooperate in building peace. We all have a duty to stop hate speech, which can cause unrest,” Issariya said.  “If we want to achieve peace, all individuals first need to try to bring peace to our hearts. That individual peace will transmit from one to another.”

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New Interfaith Center in Kaduna is Crucial as a Symbol for Interreligious Peace in Nigeria

This is truly exciting. Nigeria suffers in so many ways from the tragic and unnecessary discord among its religions.

Interfaith Center in Kaduna, Nigeria (photograph by

Article originally in Ventures

Nigeria will be 56 in about a month and one of the most significant strides the country appears to have made in improving its sociopolitical identity, in recent times, is in trying to address its infamous religious differences. For the first time in Nigeria, two of the most prominent religious faiths have been brought together through the establishment of an interfaith centre in Kaduna State.

The International Centre for Inter-Faith Peace and Harmony (ICIPH) was opened on August 19 with a main objective of documenting “interfaith relations to inform national and international policy-making.” Two notable religious organisations, the Christian Council of Nigeria and Jama’atu Nasril Islam, were instrumental in the creation of the centre which was officially inaugurated by the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai. Several top religious leaders in the country were also present.

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Japanese Muslims finally get their own mosque in Tokyo

From Ashai Shimbun 


Muslims worship at a Friday prayer session held at the Islamic Culture Exchange Center in Japan in the Higashi-Gotanda district of Tokyo’s Shinagawa Ward on Sept. 9. (Yukari Takahashi)

The latest mosque to open in Tokyo is rolling out the welcome mat, with a particular emphasis on Japanese who want to learn about the Islamic faith and the culture and languages of Muslim people.

Located in the Higashi-Gotanda district of Shinagawa Ward, the Islamic Culture Exchange Center in Japan was founded by the Japan Muslim Association, the nation’s largest organization run by Japanese Muslims.

“I hope this center will be a place where Muslims and non-Muslims can deepen their understating of each other,” said 73-year-old Kimiaki Tokumasu, the president of the association, which was established in 1952.

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In Nigeria, Chabad House is not for Jews only

There are differing views among Jews about the Chabad movement. 

Leaving such matters aside for a moment, this Nigerian mission must be commended not only for its humanitarian efforts, but for its interfaith qualities and orientation as well (Kaufmann)

From Ynet News

In a country torn by terror attacks and a deep interreligious rift, the Jews have become a moderating element helping both sides. Between conducting Passover seders and providing Jewish education, the local Chabad House has been busy building a boarding school for children with special needs and providing baby food to Muslim refugees.

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Remembering 9/11, a rabbi and imam nurture interfaith friendships

From Religious News Service

Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, left, and Imam Khalid Latif are chaplains at New York University.

NEW YORK (RNS) Like many Americans, New York University chaplains Imam Khalid Latif and Rabbi Yehuda Sarna remember exactly where they were on Sept. 11, 2001. Both men say that day and its aftermath were pivotal in defining what they now see as their lives’ mission: to promote a vision for interfaith engagement based on personal relationships.

In the aftermath of the attacks, Latif and other Muslims were hit by a backlash of blame. Latif’s father urged him to stop covering his head so he couldn’t be visibly identified as a Muslim. Other Muslim friends shaved their beards or stopped wearing hijabs.

Amid the suspicions, Latif said he was buoyed by an outpouring of support from friends of other faiths. That encouraged him to begin speaking out about his Muslim beliefs, “to tell people, ‘This is what we believe in, this is who we are, this is what our values actually are,’” he said.

Latif became active in building new interfaith coalitions, especially among other students.

Today, he and Sarna are leaders at NYU’s Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life, which has become a national model for university interfaith programs.

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Eight Muslim youths performed the last rites of a Hindu man

Article in folomojo


Image courtesy:

group of eight Muslim youths from Mumbra in Thane exemplified those virtues of human kind after all.

They carried out the funeral rites of a Hindu man who passed away in the night in Kausa. These eight Muslim youths took charge of the situation when they realized that there was nobody to do the last rites of 65-year-old Waman Kadam.

According to reports, they purchased all necessary ritualistic items like bamboo, rope, earthen pots, incense sticks as well as cloth and a thatched mat.The youths then carried his body to the crematorium at around 3 am and performed the last rites.

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