Project to engage Pakistani interfaith communities launched

From Pakistan Today


(LAHORE, Pakistan)-  Provincial Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Khalil Tahir Sandhu has said that in order to create a culture of peace and coexistence we need to respect other religions and reconcile all conflicts, dismantling the culture of war and living with justice and compassion.

He stated this while addressing launching ceremony of Engaging Pakistani Interfaith Communities (EPIC), a pilot project of FACES Pakistan and the Kingdom of Netherlands, here on Monday.

Sandhu said that in the present scenario the need of combined efforts for peace and security without any discrimination of cast or creed had increased. “Our youth is a powerful force for change and their activism is in on the rise, communicating ideas aimed at catalysing positivity in society,” he said.

Read the entire article here.

Food and faith: Charleston-area Jews, Muslims come together in kitchen to inspire dialogue

From The Post and Courier

lede cooking.jpg

Hoda Mabrouk, making baklava, and Arlene Rosenthal, making Jerusalem Salad, spend the afternoon cooking together and sharing stories in the kosher kitchen at Dor Tikvah Sunday, Jan.29, 2017, in Charleston.

(CHARLESTON, SC)- “Marcie approved the falafel!” crowed Ghazala Javed, a lay leader at Central Mosque, after a kosher caterer working in the same kitchen praised her crispy chickpea fritter. “Who else is ready to try it?”

Javed and Marcie Rosenberg were among the representatives of local Jewish and Muslim communities who met Sunday afternoon at Congregation Dor Tikvah to prepare a meal for an interreligious dialogue the next day. They didn’t collaborate on the menus: In addition to falafel, Javed’s group made tabbuli, rice and baklava, while the group led by Sandra Brett of the Jewish Community Center assembled matzo ball soup shooters and boiled bow-tie noodles for kasha varnishkes.

But they shared a tiny space and talked as they worked, which was what organizers envisioned when they recruited home cooks to produce the dishes for “Food and Faith,” a program focused on overlapping practices in Judaism and Islam, as well as points of culinary divergence.

Read the entire article here.

Religious institutes sign agreement on inter-faith education

From Channel News Asia

The S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies signed an agreement with six religious institutes to collaborate on enhancing religious harmony in Singapore.

(SINGAPORE)- There will be new post-graduate courses on religious diversity, as well as opportunities for inter-faith teaching exchanges, with the signing of a new agreement between the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) and six religious institutions on Thursday (Feb 2).

RSIS and each of the six institutes – the Buddhist College of Singapore, the Hindu Centre, MUIS Academy, the St Francis Xavier Major Seminary, the Taoist College and Trinity Theological College – will work together to promote greater understanding of different religions in Singapore.

RSIS’ head of studies in inter-religious relations in the Plural Societies Programme, Mohammad Alami Musa, said that while divisiveness can be seen in other parts of the world, Singapore has worked very hard to bring its people together through the exchange of experiences and knowledge.

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Interfaith gathering offers hope

From The Davis Enterprise

Reem Al Olabi, right, shares a hug with Sharon Kraak after the two met at a roundtable discussion Sunday at the annual Celebration of Abraham

(DAVIS, CA)- More than 225 local residents crowded into the St. James Catholic Church Community Center on Sunday afternoon, but only a light hum of voices could be heard. It was a time for listening.  Arriving for the 14th annual Celebration of Abraham on January 27th, residents from all manner of religious faiths  gathered under one roof to share traditions and reflect on recent events.

“We come together in our faiths to find friendship, mutual respect and support,” said Michael Hirsch of Congregation Bet Haverim, as he introduced the roundtable discussion.

“I have hope in spite of the divisiveness, bigotry and hateful speech and actions that have surfaced in our nation this last year,” Hirsch continued. “I believe we can make a difference.”

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Central African Republic Christians, Muslims unite to heal trauma

From Reuters

CRS | Lobaye Prefecture Emergency Food Security Project | Lobaye | Central African Republic

BANGUI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Blindfolds secured tightly, more than a dozen men and women are led by their partners around leafy plants and trees in the compound of an international charity in the Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui.

The occasional stumble sends nervous laughter around the group of Christians and Muslims who have been paired up at random for the experiment – an exercise in building trust between communities torn apart by conflict.  At the end of the session, those guiding the ‘blind’ along cracked concrete and pebble paths spoke of having to be patient, responsible and compassionate.

The workshop involves the participants sharing some characteristics they appreciate in each other, switching seamlessly between French and the local language Sangho.

It ends with discussions on how they could uproot mistrust in their communities. On an easel, the participants wrote that they planned to provide ‘sincere apologies,’ ‘love,’ ‘trust,’ and ‘dialogue’ in order to ‘search for common ground’.

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Interfaith service in Hamden honors Martin Luther King Jr.

From the New Haven Register

The Combined Interfaith Choir performs “This Little Light of Mine” at the annual interfaith service in tribute to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at Congregation Mishkan Israel in Hamden

(HAMDEN, CT)- An interfaith service celebrating the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Friday had a political focus, as clergy and guest speakers encouraged the congregation to channel the civil rights leader’s commitment to serving the most vulnerable in society.

“Now, so much of what Dr. King stood for and fought for is in jeopardy,” said Stephen Bright, a professor at Yale Law School and the keynote speaker at the service. “In the spirit of Dr. King … let’s open our hearts to the needs of others.”

Bright, who is also the president and senior counsel at the Southern Center for Human Rights, gave his address at Congregation Mishkan Israel, a reform synagogue in Hamden, during the sixth annual service honoring King, which featured prayers and blessings, as well as readers and preachers from Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Baha’i and Unitarian Universalist faiths

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Praise for the glorious and gracious life of Huston Smith

On January 1, 2017, Professor Huston Smith ascended to the heavenly realms.

Huston Smith was Secretary General of the Inter Religious Federation for World Peace for many years, a great and wise guide for our efforts for peace and reconciliation and collaboration among believers, as believers are we all

We will greatly miss Huston here on the earthly plane, and pray that we may continue entwined in him and his continuing light.

Blessings Beloved Huston

Huston Smith in New York in 2005, after the publication of his book “The Soul of Christianity: Restoring the Great Tradition.” CreditTina Feinberg/Associated Press

Huston Smith, Author of ‘The World’s Religions,’ Dies at 97

Local interfaith groups to pray for peace on New Year’s Day

From Levittown Now & the Asian American Press

Tying together communities and faiths in celebration, local interfaith initiatives will open the New Year with prayers for peace.  Out of Pennsylvania and Nevada come two stories of such efforts.

(Yardley Borough, PA)- The Annual New Year’s Celebration for Peace marks the New Year with optimism and hope.

Participants will share an hour of spontaneous prayers for peace in Israel/Palestine, the Middle East and throughout the world. People can feel free to be creative and join the group in prayer, song, music, silence or any way attendees are moved.

Sponsoring the celebration are the Interfaith Community of Lower Bucks. The Peace Center and Interfaith Community for Middle East Peace (ICMEP.)

Read the entire article here.


(Reno, NV)— In a remarkable interfaith gesture and a unique way to welcome 2017, various religions are getting together in Reno to celebrate the ringing in of the New Year in a divine manner away from the glitter of the casinos.

Coordinated by distinguished religious statesman Rajan Zed, “Multi-faith New Years’ Eve Service” hosted by Reno Buddhist Center will include Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Baha’i, Shinto and Native American prayers.

Read the entire article here.

Two signs in India that inter-religious tolerance thrives despite tensions

From Crux

Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, and Christians celebrate together in Varanasi, India, on Dec. 21.

(MUMBAI, India) – Although India’s increasingly hard-line Hindu nationalist movements can often make life difficult for religious minorities, including the country’s 30 million Christians, two recent episodes illustrate the deep undercurrent of tolerance that still pervades traditional Indian values.

In southeastern India in Telangana, a state governor known for deep Hindu piety and attachment to mystical Hindu principles of architecture and design nonetheless took part in a Christian banquet celebrating Christmas, pledging to step up protection and public funding for Christian churches that find themselves under threat.

In the north in Varanasi, meanwhile, a city considered the spiritual capital of the country, Muslims, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Christians all came together for an interfaith celebration on Dec. 21, taking advantage of the coincidence that major feasts for all those traditions fell this year around the same date.

Read the entire article here.