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violence

Creating Sacred and Safe Spaces

Creating Sacred and Safe Spaces

by Lawrence Lerner

On March 15th, 2019 a shooter used the Facebook social media platform to broadcast the massacre of 50 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand. How do I write about hate without honoring it?

Distinguishing Sympathy, Empathy, and Compassion

Distinguishing Sympathy, Empathy, and Compassion

by Marcus Braybrooke

Sympathy, empathy, compassion; my dictionary treats them as synonyms. Contributors to the important new book Confronting Religious Violence, however, suggest there are important differences.

Meditating on the Buddha in the Midst of Buddhist Terror

Meditating on the Buddha in the Midst of Buddhist Terror

by Richard Reoch

The Buddha was no stranger to genocide. His own people, the Sakyas, were the victims of mass slaughter. One of the final acts of his life, recounted in the opening verses of the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, was to refuse a request to give his blessing to an act of genocide.

All I Have Is a Voice

All I Have Is a Voice

by Marcus Braybrooke

The row over reading verses of the Qur’an in a Cathedral in Scotland has, I gather, reached across the Atlantic. Certainly the Cathedral has had a lot of abusive online messages from the U.S.A. During an Epiphany service at the Cathedral a Muslim law student was invited to read the Qur’anic account of the birth of Jesus, which also says, as Muslims believe, that Jesus was a prophet but not divine.

REPORT: Religion Communicators Convention Dives Deep

REPORT: Religion Communicators Convention Dives Deep

by Paul Chaffee

A largely unknown treasure for interfaith activists is the convention held each year by the Religion Communicators Council (RCC). Founded in 1929, the RCC has given annual awards to religious communicators and to secular communicators working on religious subjects since 1949.

All I Have Is a Voice

All I Have Is a Voice

by Marcus Braybrooke

The row over reading verses of the Qur’an in a Cathedral in Scotland has, I gather, reached across the Atlantic. Certainly the Cathedral has had a lot of abusive online messages from the U.S.A. During an Epiphany service at the Cathedral a Muslim law student was invited to read the Qur’anic account of the birth of Jesus, which also says, as Muslims believe, that Jesus was a prophet but not divine.

Serve2Unite Takes on Violence Fearlessly

“We defy hate and violence with peace and love. We bring people together. We celebrate the positive global human qualities that everyone shares, and no one can stop us.”

Responding to Global Violence in Montgomery County, Maryland

The following letter was sent last month to local leaders in Montgomery County, Maryland. It came from Rev. Mansfield Kaseman, the Interfaith Community Liaison of the Office of Community Partnerships. OCP is a unique government-sponsored interfaith program that will be profiled in the January TIO.

Muslim-Christian Dialogue is for the Birds

Twenty fifteen is a year for remembering massacre. This past July marked the twentieth summer since the summary executions in the municipality and town of Srebrenica, where over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims – mostly men and boys – were murdered during the Bosnian war. And April of 2015 marked a hundred years since the beginning of the episodic murders of over 800,000 Armenians. When one considers 8,000 Muslims, or 800,000 Armenians, the numbers confound any sensibility of moral trespass.

Charleston – Standing Together in Solidarity

In the wake of the shooting at Charleston, South Carolina, a question resurfaces in my mind. It is the same question that unfortunately arises time and again, whether it is the shooting at a Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, the shooting at a synagogue in West Jerusalem, or the attack on a mosque in Kuwait City. If Mr. Dylann Roof were in surgery, and the only blood available to save his life came from Rev. Clementa Pinckney or another member of his church – the blood that Mr. Roof has shed with deliberate planning – would he accept the blood or choose instead to die on the altar of his hate.

Interfaith Network is Responding to Religious Violence

URI CCs encourage one another, pray for one another, share feelings and actions. A recent response shows actions of solidarity arising…

Courage in the Face of Fear

It’s been over a month since the armed assault on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, and the tragedy has been on my mind every day since. There are many issues deserving reflection, from free speech versus hate speech, rising xenophobia and violent extremism, or even avoiding the conflation of all Muslims with the violently radical, yet tiny network of heretics. Yet, my mind has been preoccupied with a more overarching theme of the core mission of terrorism – terror itself. The goal is more than a body count; it’s the arousal of our most instinctual response in evolutionary psychology: fear, and where that fear will likely lead us.

Transforming the Religious Impulse Gone Bad

Eric Schmitt’s recent New York Times story, “In Battle to Defang ISIS, U.S. Targets Its Psychology,” was startling. You might, at first glance, call it 2014’s most hopeful story about the nightmare called the “Islamic State” and its echoes around the world. Schmitt profiles Maj. Gen. Michael Nagata, commander of American Special Operations forces in the Middle East. Nagata has organized a military/academic/private-sector think-tank to ask: “What makes the Islamic State so dangerous?”

Religious Freedom on the Brink

A shorter version of this article was originally published October 12, 2012 by the Huffington Post. Mr. Speckhardt has added several paragraphs at the end, updating his analysis. A library of stories dramatizing his thesis have been written since; his basic focus on the “need to ensure that a person’s freedom of thought and speech is paramount” continues to ground the whole issue of religious freedom. Ed.

Stop Violence in the Name of Religion

The following statement is signed by distinguished leaders from a variety of religious traditions. It was published July 24, 2014 and made available by Al-Monitor.

Global Religion – A Perfect Storm, by the Numbers

Religiously related beheadings broadcast this summer over the internet snapped the world to attention, initiating a dark new chapter in global religious relationships. We might call this a tragic aberration if the madness were confined to Iraq/Syria, or if religious freedom was not diminishing globally even as religiously related conflict is accelerating. But this new level of violence could push us to a tipping point. Humankind’s best hope may be the willingness of peacemakers, religious and secular, to join hands strategically to end absolutist violence, wherever it’s found.

In a World of Violent Disorder, Carrying the Agony in Hope

Written for the 639 United Religion Initiative Cooperation Circles in 84 countries, Bill Swing’s words in these difficult times resonate for interfaith activists everywhere.

Is Religion the Problem, the Victim, or a Resource? Yes…

Discerning the Institutional Shadow

Religious Violence in Burma

The Fire This Time: