Toronto to Host the 7th Parliament of the World’s Religions

This sketch of the then new Art Institute of Chicago was drawn in 1893, the same year it was used as the site for the first World Parliament of Religions. – Photo: Wikimedia

Toronto has been chosen as the host city of the 7th Parliament of the World’s Religions, to be convened in November 1-7, 2018.

the 2018 Parliament, which will last for seven days and comprise more than 500 programs, workshops, and dialogues, alongside music, dance, art and photography exhibitions, and related events, presented by the world’s religious communities and cultural institutions.

Read the entire announcement here

Al-Azhar committee to draft law on countering hatred, violence committed in the name of religion

Egypt Independent

Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb decided to form a committee to draft a law on countering hatred and violence committed in the name of religion to be headed by Mohamed abdel Salam, al-Azhar’s legislative and legal advisor.

Abdel Salam said several meetings will be held to propose the initial ideas on Tayyeb, who ordered intensive work over the coming few days to draft the law which will be reviewed by Parliament.

In remarks on Sunday, Abdel Salam added that the bill aims to criminalize the incitment of hatred and forms of violence practiced in the name of religion, which comes within al-Azhar’s efforts to fight extremism and spread enlightened discourse and a culture of tolerance among people.

He added that legal systems usually trickle down into a society’s culture a while after application.

Muslims and Jews Break Bread, and Build Bonds

New York Times

This seems premature to warrant a major New York Times article that consists of nothing more than two dinners, and “my hope is that.” But there it is. More about things that appeal to the New York Times, than about significant interfaith progress.

That said, the wisdom of quiet,, intimate, enduring trans-religious relations cannot be underestimated, and further the hope or dream of a “constellation of homes” investing in these challenges is an admirable aspiration.

With two rounds of dinners so far, the project is one of many interfaith efforts going on in the New York area and nationally to promote Jewish-Muslim relations. But unlike a large event at a synagogue or mosque, these meals distinguish themselves by their intimacy, with no more than six guests in a Muslim or Jewish home. Guests can linger over dessert and tea as they move from easy conversations to more sensitive themes.

“My hope was if you were to look at New York City from above, there would be a constellation of homes where these dinners were all happening, and like a secret sense of unity between people who are all taking part,” Ms. Firestone said.

Read the entire feature here

A Catholic World Fades Over a Lifetime

This first appeared May 5, 2017 in the Wall Street Journal. No hyper-link is provided due to WSJ’s pay wall

Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The IRFWP mission to create harmonious relations among religions and religious believers involves posting news of interfaith activity and developments. Part of interfaith however also involves growing in one’s understanding of “other” religions (not only my own), and so IRFWP posts these sorts of informational and educational pieces as well. 

Here is an elegant and lilting piece that captures a profound reality in contemporary North American Catholicism [ed]

Early last month I attended my Uncle Joe’s funeral Mass at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary—the same Morristown, N.J., Catholic church in which he had been baptized 89 years earlier. In an ancient tradition meant to recall baptism, his casket was covered with a white linen pall, blessed with holy water by a priest, and positioned in the sanctuary before the Paschal candle. Decorated with the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, Alpha and Omega, the candle denotes our fundamental belief in the resurrection of the body made possible by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

The mourners that day were few. Uncle Joe had simply outlived a lot of people. Of the 50 or so friends and family assembled to pray for the repose of his soul, only a handful seemed familiar with the liturgy. A regular Sunday Mass-goer couldn’t help but notice: Almost no one knew what to say and when to say it, or what to do and when to do it.
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Pope: Fatima Visionaries Francisco and Jacinta Marto Will Be Proclaimed Saints

National Catholic Register

VATICAN CITY — On Thursday Pope Francis approved the second and final miracle needed to canonize Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta Marto, two of the shepherd children who witnessed the Fatima Marian apparitions.

The remarkable story of these young saints, and the fascinating content of the secrets of Fatima, make this decision by Francis I highly significant in current religious news [ed]

Read the entire article here

And read about the history of the Fatima Marian apparition here

 

‘We must protect our country’: extremist Buddhists target Mandalay’s Muslims

From the Guardian

Wirathu sits in office

This article describes a tragic reality on the landscape of Inter Religious relations. There are two elements here that may be unfamiliar to Western readers: 1. Buddhist-Muslim relations are not a first thought where Islam is concerned. Western readers tend to think of Christianity and Judaism, when envisioning or investing in improved and more constructive interfaith relations. 2. There is a tendency in the West to presume Buddhism is the quintessential tradition of peace, but here we see a disturbing picture in a Buddhist-predominant locale.

The problems defined are serious, long-standing and entrenched. People seriously involved and devoted to interfaith, must take this situation seriously. [ed.]

“Jihadi Muslims want to overwhelm the country, so we have to protect it,” says Eindaw Bar Tha, the monk lying on the floor.

This is the headquarters of the Committee to Protect Race and Religion, or Ma Ba Tha. It is an ultra-nationalist Buddhist organisation, and for years it has been spreading anti-Muslim sentiment across the country from this unassuming base. Self-anointed protectors of Myanmar’s dominant Buddhist religion, Ma Ba Tha members have sown insidious new tensions in Mandalay, a diverse city home to sizeable Muslim, Christian and Hindu populations.

In 2014, the hostility culminated in anti-Muslim riots widely linked to Ma Ba Tha – a tension that’s still present throughout Mandalay. On the street, a Muslim man passing a monk freezes up for fear of saying a wrong word. A Buddhist taxi driver, driving away from an Islamic neighbourhood, mutters: “So many Muslims.”

Read the entire article here

Global Business & Interfaith Peace Awards: Seoul Korea • March 2018

Religious Freedom & Business Foundation

  • Nominations are OPEN — Deadline:  1st October 2017 
  • Completed nominations should be emailed as an attached Word document to nominations@religiousfreedomandbusiness.org no later than 1st October 2017 (early submissions are encouraged).

Female Islamic clerics in Indonesia issue rare child marriage fatwa

In BBC News

WONDERFUL!

(ed. IRFWP)

Badriyah Fayumi

Female Islamic clerics in Indonesia have issued an unprecedented fatwa against child marriage.

The fatwa, which is not legally binding but will be influential, was issued after a three-day congress of female clerics in the country.

The clerics urged the government to raise the minimum legal age for women to marry to 18 from the current 16.

Indonesia is a majority Muslim country and has among the highest number of child brides in the world.

According to the UN’s children office UNICEF, one in four women in Indonesia marries before the age of 18.

Women's Islamic conference in Indonesia

Read the whole article on this hopeful and promising news here

Brian Grim leads plenary at one of world’s foremost business leader gatherings

Announcement in Religious Freedom and Business Foundaton

How may we develop trust, faith and togetherness to enable progress that can absorb economic, political and spiritual surprises originating locally or globally?

Join Brian Grim, president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, at a plenary presentation of the 2017 Horasis Global Meeting (28-29 May), Cascais, Portugal to see how several top leaders answer this question at an audience composed of some of the world’s leading thinkers and business leaders.

Full announcement here

Manuel Caldeira Cabral, Minister of Economy, Portugal Horasis will convene the 2017 Horasis Global Meeting in Cascais, Portugal on 28-29 May. The annual Horasis Global Meeting is one of the world’s foremost gatherings of business leaders who interact with key government officials and eminent thought leaders. The Horasis community of more than 300 selected world leaders from 70 countries will gather for an unparalleled experience advancing solutions to the most critical challenges facing corporations and societies today.

Speakers (pictured above, clockwise from top left) on the “Developing Trust” panel with Brian Grim include:

• Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson | Prefect, Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and Past President, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Vatican City

• Canon Sarah Snyder | Archbishop of Canterbury’s Adviser for Reconciliation, United Kingdom

• Hamid Karzai | Former President of Afghanistan, Afghanistan

• Elder Neil L. Andersen | Member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, USA