Finding common ground: 3 couples making interfaith marriages work

From the Shreveport Times

While marrying within the faith is still most common — with 69 percent saying that their spouse shares their religion — a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center found 39 percent of couples who have married since 2010 have a spouse of a different faith compared to only 19 percent of those who married before 1960.


“Everything that is important to us about both of our religions that we were raised with is all about how you treat other people and each other and we feel the exact same way and I think most religions do, so once we realized that it was the code of conduct, the code of how you live, that was important to us we realized there was no actual conflict,” Jaya said

This is a fairly extensive article with lots of good reflection and even advice for raising up a harmonious interfaith couple and family 

Read the entire article here

Remembering a Christian and a Jew who traced anti-Judaism to its roots

Article from RNS

Fifty years ago Edward Flannery published “The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-Three Centuries of Anti-Semitism,” an outstanding book that permanently changed relations between Christians and Jews. His pioneering efforts exposed a pervasive animus towards Judaism within Christianity.

People hold Israeli flags as they listen to speakers during a demonstration against anti-Semitism at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate on Sept. 14, 2014. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Markus Schreiber/Pool *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-RUDIN-OPED, originally transmitted on Aug. 22, 2016.

People hold Israeli flags as they listen to speakers during a demonstration against anti-Semitism at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate on Sept. 14, 2014. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Markus Schreiber/Pool *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-RUDIN-OPED, originally transmitted on Aug. 22, 2016.

A gifted theologian and historian, Flannery was the first director of Catholic-Jewish relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. In that role, he challenged his fellow Christians to confront and root out the pernicious anti-Judaism embedded in their religious teaching and preaching….


Father Edward Flannery

Jules Isaac, the inspector general of France’s public educational system in the 1930s, termed the church’s long record of anti-Judaism the “teaching of contempt,” a phrase that has entered into the permanent lexicon of interreligious relations.

Jules Isaac

Unfortunately, Isaac’s meeting with Pius XII in 1949 yielded few positive results, but his conversation with John XXIII in 1960 motivated the pope to seek a fundamental transformation in the church’s teachings about the Jewish people and their religion, a reordering that began in 1965 with the Second Vatican Council’s “Nostra Aetate,” the declaration on the Catholic Church’s need to build a positive relationship with the Jewish people.

Read the entire article here


Muslims and Jews from around the world gather in Berlin for 7th annual interfaith confab

From The Jerusalem Post

Amidst tension over terrorism in Europe, 150 Muslims and Jews from around the world gathered for the seventh annual Muslim Jewish Conference in Berlin.

Bringing together members of both religions from 33 countries last week, including Pakistan, Sudan, France, Israel, Austria, Brazil, Tunisia, Argentina, the Palestinian territories, South Africa and Singapore, participants took part in a wide range of interfaith activities and events.

Participants of the Muslim Jewish Conference take part in interfaith prayer last week at the site of the Sachsenhasuen concentration camp.

Taking to The Jerusalem Post, Ilja Sichrovsky, secretary-general of the Muslim Jewish Conference, argued that despite the cynicism exhibited by some with regard to the potential for change through interfaith dialogue, he remained of the belief that now more than ever it is vital. “A single person has the potential to change history and we’ve seen this in so many instances” he said. “If one person can ruin the world, then I do strongly believe a few people can have a very important role in putting it back together.”

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Muslim woman devotes her life to helping Christians displaced by ISIS

From The Christian Post

Meet Dr. Sarah Ahmed, an Iraqi dentist who for the past few years has devoted her time to traveling all over Iraq to bring clothes, medicine, food, hygiene supplies and just about any other need imaginable to the Christians, Yazidis, Muslims, Shebeks and others who have been thrown from their homes, tortured and raped at the hands of the Islamic State.

Dr. Sarah Ahmed

 “She is there protecting all of the Iraqi Christians. You never hear anything about it in the news, but you hear about the work I am doing. The work that I am doing is being done by a Muslim caring for the Christians,” White, the former chaplain of St. George’s Church in Baghdad, asserted last December during a lunch visit in Washington. “We think and hear about Islamic terrorism all the time. What about Islamic people working for the protection of Christians?”

“I am a very faithful person,” Ahmed told CP. “I believe that with all the amount of [humanitarian work] that I have been doing and have been doing out of good faith in my heart and not for fame or money or anything, just out of my desire to help, I feel that God is always there for me and kind of protecting me and being around me to be able to reach all these areas and all these people.”

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The Interfaith Partnership For Refugee Resettlement: Offering Hope To Strangers

From The Newton Bee

While politics on the national level may have taken over many headlines in recent weeks, an international crisis is still being watched by many people around the world.

Two boys celebrate in the airport after officially entering the U.S. as registered refugees.

A small but growing group of people in Newtown, CT are still watching the humanitarian crisis that has been unfolding overseas in recent years. In particular, these people have been touched enough by the Syrian refugee crisis that they have decided to do something about it.

Rick Chamiec-Case and Gordon Williams are serving as the chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of a local group that is planning to help a refugee family from the Middle East or Africa become resettled in the Newtown area. The group — Interfaith Partnership for Refugee Resettlement (IPRR) — has developed out of a common interest among a growing number of members of Trinity Episcopal Church, of which Mr Chamiec-Case is a member, and Newtown Congregational Church, of which Mr Williams is a member.

“We’d like to help support a family that has been displaced because of war, oppression, or fear for their lives,” said Mr Chamiec-Case. “We would like to help them settle, and give them hope, compared to the place they left.”

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Interfaith program teaches students to foster peace, calm conflict

From The Boston Globe

NEWTON — Omri, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy, has traveled thousands of miles from Jerusalem every summer for the past four years to learn more about his Muslim faith, cope with conflict, and become a leader.

As members of the interfaith group Kids4Peace, Omri and other students met with US government leaders and others in Washington, D.C., to get a clearer picture of how to find solutions to the conflicts in the Middle East before returning to the Boston area to reflect on their experience.

“It’s opened up how to communicate with people from other cultures,” he said.

Jewish, Muslim, and Christian students from Boston and the Middle East make up Kids4Peace, a nonprofit that infuses religion with social action.

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A Swedish Muslim takes on anti-Semitism

From Religious News Service

(RNS) Siavosh Derakhti, a young Swedish Muslim honored in Europe and the U.S. for his campaign to counter anti-Semitism, always explains his motivation by invoking David.

David — Derakhti has told audiences on four continents — was one of his best friends when he was a kid. Other kids always bullied David, and a very young Derakhti wanted to know why. David said he was hated for being Jewish. After that, David had a Muslim ally, someone who literally fought by his side.

Siavosh Derakhti stands alone during a trip to Auschwitz with his parents.

Derakhti, now 25, has made his life’s work the plight of the Jews in Sweden and Europe, where anti-Semitism has risen to levels so alarming that Jews talk of leaving for safer lives in Israel or the U.S.

“We have to stand up for my cousins. My Jewish cousins,” Derakhti said. “I’m Muslim, I’m proud of it, but I’m also proud to be cousins with the Jewish population.”

Read the entire article here.

Call for interfaith studies to be taught in Malaysian schools

From Asia One

SERI KEMBANGAN – Knowledge about all the religions practised in the country should be taught as a formal subject in schools and at universities to strengthen unity and harmony in Malaysia.

This suggestion was among those made at the 2016 Interfaith Forum organised by the Department of National Unity and Integration under the Prime Minister’s Depart­ment, and the Committee to Promote Inter-Faith Understanding and Harmony.

The chairman of the committee, Datuk Azman Amin Hassan, said the participants of the forum felt that interfaith studies need to be taught in schools as many Malay­sians were still ignorant about the religion practised by their fellow Malaysians.

“It’s not good enough that we know about our own religion. Interfaith studies should be taught in schools and universities so that Malaysians understand some basic things about other religions as well,” he said.

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Baptist church rallies to help Muslim neighbor

When a religion is lived well, it can manifest beautifully.  A genuine devotee extends their care to all, including to followers of other traditions.

From the Atlantic Journal Constitution

Malik Waliyani arrived at his store last week to find the registers damaged, items stolen and an undetermined amount of cash gone.  Waliyani, who bought the gas station and convenience store three months ago, was devastated.

The Rev. Chris George, pastor of Smoke Rise Baptist Church, talks with Malik Waliyani.

Then help arrived from an unexpected source.

A member of nearby Smoke Rise Baptist Church heard about the burglary on social media and rallied others in the congregation.

So, after services on Sunday, dozens of members arrived by van, truck and car at the TruBuy BP station on Lilburn-Stone Mountain Road.They filled up their tanks. They bought candy, soda and chips. One woman bought a candy bar then pushed her change back across the counter.

“Amazing,” said Waliyani, an Ismaili Muslim who was born in India but has lived in Georgia for about a dozen years. “I couldn’t believe that I would be accepted so greatly by the neighbors and the community around me. They stood by me in my difficult time, and it gives me hope to rise again.”

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PrayerSpark Spiritual Leader Yungchen Lhamo

PrayerSpark article here

PrayerSpark Spiritual Leader Yungchen Lhamo 2016-07-26 12.07.45

PrayerSpark Spiritual Leader Yungchen Lhamo and her sister Tenzin with Dr. Frank Kaufman

PrayerSpark Spiritual Leader Yungchen Lhamo stopped by with her sister today for a short while to meet with SVP Frank Kaufman. Yungchen lost everything in 1989 when she fled Tibet, across the Himalayas, and into India. Today, she is Tibet’s leading world vocalist. Yungchen is a platinum-selling musician, and has collaborated musically with Philip Glass, Annie Lennox, Michael Stipe, Billy Corgan, Natalie Merchant and Sheryl Crow, and many more.

See her full profile by clicking here: Yungchen Lhamo