Al Azhar workshop to encourage interfaith dialogue opens Tuesday, May 7, 2018

FILE: Al-Azhar Sheikdom

FILE: Al-Azhar Sheikdom

CAIRO – 7 May 2018: Al Azhar Fatwa Global Center in coordination with Al Azhar Translation Center will organize on Tuesday an expanded workshop for Egyptian university students to encourage interfaith dialogue.

The workshop, to be held under the theme “Youth and Religious Institutions .. Listen before you Talk” will take place at Al Azhar Center for Conferences under the aegis of Al Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed el Tayyeb.

Among officials to attend the opening session are Abbas Shuman, Deputy of Al Azhar and Yousef Amer, Vice President of Al Azhar University and General Supervisor of Al Azhar Fatwa Global Center.

Read the entire article here

Interfaith event features Middle East scholar on Syria

Displaced women who fled the Syrian war wait near the Lebanese-Syrian border as they prepare to return to their village of Beit Jinn in Syria, in Shebaa, Southern Lebanon, Wednesday, April 18, 2018.

Displaced women who fled the Syrian war wait near the Lebanese-Syrian border as they prepare to return to their village of Beit Jinn in Syria, in Shebaa, Southern Lebanon, Wednesday, April 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Ziad Choufi )

SPRINGFIELD – A scholar in Middle East politics will be featured speaker for a collaboratively presented program on Syria this month at Christ Church Cathedral.

David Mednicoff, director of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, will deliver the main talk for “Keeping Hope Alive: Seven Years of War in Syria” April 29 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, 35 Chestnut St.

The event, similar to one held earlier this month in Northampton, is being presented by the Interfaith Council of Greater Springfield, along with Christ Church Cathedral, the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts and the Valley Syrian Relief Committee, which is a Western Massachusetts partner of the Washington, D.C.-based Syrian Emergency Task Force.

Read the entire article here

Passages from the Bible discovered behind Qur’an manuscript

‘It’s quite extraordinary’ … the only recorded palimpsest of a Qur’an copied on to a Christian text. Photograph: Christie’s

An “extraordinary” discovery by an eagle-eyed scholar has identified the shadowy outlines of passages from the Bible behind an eighth-century manuscript of the Qur’an – the only recorded palimpsest in which a Christian text has been effaced to make way for the Islamic holy text.

French scholar Dr Eléonore Cellard was looking for images of a palimpsest page sold a decade earlier by Christie’s when she came across the auction house’s latest catalogue, which included fragments from a manuscript of the Qur’an which Christie’s had dated to the eighth century AD, or the second century of Islam. Scrutinising the image, she noticed that, appearing faintly behind the Arabic script, were Coptic letters. She contacted Christie’s, and they managed to identify the Coptic text as coming from the Old Testament’s Book of Deuteronomy – part of the Torah and the Christian Old Testament.

Read the entire article here

Muslim World League, Vatican Bolster Interfaith Dialogue

Muslim World League Chief Mohammed Al-Issa and President of the Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, Riyadh , Asharq Al-Awsat

Riyadh- Asharq Al Awsat
Muslim World League Chief Mohammed Al-Issa and President of the Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran on Saturday signed a cooperation agreement on achieving common objectives.

Under the terms of this, the two parties agreed to establish a standing work committee to be headed by the cardinal and Issa.

Flagstaff rabbi brings Muslim professor for series of interfaith events

Flagstaff Interfaith

Photo by Tedd Nickerson Rabbi Mindie Snyder and professor Munir Shaikh attend the ‘Inter-Religious and Multi-Cultural Seder and Literary Exploration of a Higher Love’ at the Murdoch Community Center in Flagstaff on April 6.

When it comes to building a diverse interfaith community at 7,000 feet, Rabbi Mindie Snyder of Congregation Lev Shalom in Flagstaff has a secret weapon: the power of friendship.

Snyder credits her friends with helping so many firsts come true for her community, especially last weekend, when Munir Shaikh, director of academic affairs and planning at Bayan Claremont, an Islamic graduate school in California, became the first speaker to be hosted by the synagogue and the recently opened Islamic Center of Flagstaff. The visit was also the first partnered event with the Murdoch Community Center, a hub for the local African-American community, and the first planned by Lev Shalom to compare aspects of Judaism and Islam in detail.

“Anything that has come to fruition in recent weeks and days has taken years of work and friendships behind it,” Snyder explained. “People have been thirsty for these kinds of conversations. I was trying to meet the needs of the greater Flagstaff community. Moving our programming around to different places where there were different interests, I thought, would be beneficial for our community, as well as our guests.”

Read the entire article here

Heschel, King And The Interfaith Impulse: Remembering the man that Martin Luther King called ‘my rabbi.’


In this season of Yizkor, on the 50th yahrtzeit of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination this month, the heart turns to one of the most iconic photos in American Jewish history. It was taken in Selma, Ala., on a Sunday in 1965, just prior to Martin Luther King’s march to the state capitol in Montgomery. There, at the front of the march, just to the left of King, is a white-bearded man, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who looks nothing less than a prophet, spiritually regal, but lonely, as prophets often were. Well, as regal as they could be after a Hawaiian supporter ran up to them and draped them in bright leis, bringing smiles on a day that was already too tense.

While the issue of economic justice was front and center in the coverage of the anniversary of King’s death, it’s easy to lose sight of the kind of interfaith embrace the photograph captures. Heschel and King, born in very different corners of the world, would eventually cross paths, two prophets who became friends and fellow marchers for justice.

Read the entire article here

Irfan Ahmad Khan, Islamic scholar who promoted interfaith ties, dead at 86

Beloved IRFWP friend and life time associate, Irfan Ahmad Khan ascended to spiritual life on April 3, 2018

Irfan Ahmad Khan taught many people about the Quran, including his grandchild Sulayman Ahmed Ansari.

We, the family of IRFWP wish to express our great gratitude to Imam Khan for his invaluable contribution to our efforts and achievements, and offer loving prayers and condolences to the family and close friends of Imam.

Read the entire Chicago Sun Times article here

Performance takes audience on interfaith journey into divine love | Faith Matters

The Rev. George Drance has put together “In Love With Thee: Mystical Poetry in Performance From the Jewish, Christian and Sufi Traditions,” which will be performed at the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture in New York on April 16, 2018. Here, Drance is seen in an earlier performance, interpreting Meena Alexander’s poem “Transmigrations” with Indian hand gestures at the Emily Harvey Gallery.

Drance has put together a unique mix of poetry, music and dance that will have a one evening performance Monday, April 16, at the new Sheen Center for Thought and Culture in New York.

Located off Washington Square Park, a few blocks from the PATH, “In Love With Thee: Mystical Poetry in Performance From the Jewish, Christian and Sufi Traditions” will be performed in the Loreto Theatre.

Read the entire announcement here

Saudi Prince Meets New York Rabbis In Rare Interfaith Gesture

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman met a group of religious leaders in New York, including two rabbis, a rare interfaith gesture for the de facto ruler of the conservative Islamic kingdom that allows negligible religious freedoms.

The 32-year-old heir to the throne, currently on a three-week tour of the U.S., met two Roman Catholic and three Jewish figures on Wednesday, the Saudi embassy in Washington said in a statement. Saudi Arabia enforces an austere interpretation of Sunni Islam, but Prince Mohammed has said he wants to ease the country toward “moderate Islam, open to the world and all religions.”

Read the entire article here

Jews and Arabs living side by side

In 1978 a small community called Wahat al-Salam, Neve Shalom – meaning “oasis of peace” – was founded by four families, Jews and Arabs, on a hill-top between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

It was a pioneering experiment in peaceful co-existence in the long Middle East conflict.

Four decades on, it is now home to more than 60 families.

Two of its long-standing residents, Nava Sonnenschein and Daoud Boulus, spoke to Witness about life in this “oasis of peace.”