February 2012

Each month TIO shares a few of the more interesting interfaith stories from recent news.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Interfaith Perspective

Martin Luther King's Legacy: How MLK Continues To Inspire Religious Leaders Today

Huffington Post, January 23, 2012

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was many things to many people, yet central to his identity was his role as a Christian pastor and religious leader.

Rev. King practiced his faith in a way that was both personal and public, pious and prophetic, and his commitment to pluralism and justice has influenced a generation of religious leaders from all faiths. HuffPost Religion is proud to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by offering these testimonies from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhists religious leaders on MLK's influence upon them, and how he might influence all of us as well. [READ MORE…]

South Africa’s Religious Leaders Organize

Religious Leaders In Southern Africa Resolve To Form A National Interfaith

ACRL Newsletter, October-November 2011

Religious Leaders gathered in Durban, South Africa in November resolved to begin the process of forming the South Africa Inter-Religious Council (SAIRC) and the Southern Africa Inter-Religious Network (SAIRN). H.E. Wilfrid Cardinal Napier, OFM, Chairman of the KwaZulu Natal Inter-Religious Council, (Religions for Peace KwaZulu Natal) urged the religious leaders to unite together to address the challenges facing South Africans, par¬ticularly those including justice and human dignity issues.

Speaking during the meeting, Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali, Secretary General of Religions for Peace Africa, urged religious leaders to form a sustainable national interfaith body and a network for the Southern African countries, through which issues requiring urgent responses from religious leaders, including governance, climate change, HIV/AIDS, peacebuilding and conflict prevention, could be addressed in common action. [READ MORE…]

RFP Condemns Interreligious Violence in Nigeria

Statement of the Moderator and the Secretary General on the Church Bombings in Nigeria

December 26, 2011

“All of the religious communities in Religions for Peace, present in over 90 countries, are united in mourning for the dead and our concern and sympathy for the injured. Respectful of our different religious traditions, we are all--each in accord with the teachings of our various traditions--in prayerful solidarity with the families, friends, and communities of all the victims of these terrible crimes” wrote Religions for Peace’s Moderator and Secretary General in a joint statement condemning terrorist attacks across Nigeria [READ MORE…]

Muslims and Jews Under One Roof

A Bronx Tale of a Mosque and Synagogue

by Ted Regencia and Lindsay Minerva, The Tablet, January 23, 2012

Near the corner of Westchester Avenue and Pugsley Street in Parkchester, just off the elevated tracks of the No. 6 train, Yaakov Wayne Baumann stood outside a graffiti-covered storefront on a chilly Saturday morning. Suited up in a black overcoat with a matching wide-brimmed black fedora, the thickly bearded 42-year-old chatted with elderly congregants as they entered the building for Shabbat service.

The only unusual detail: This synagogue is a mosque.

Or rather, it’s housed inside a mosque. That’s right: Members of the Chabad of East Bronx, an ultra-Orthodox synagogue, worship in the Islamic Cultural Center of North America, which is home to the Al-Iman mosque. “People have a misconception that Muslims hate Jews,” said Baumann. “But here is an example of them working with us.”

Indeed, though conventionally viewed as adversaries both here and abroad, the Jews and Muslims of the Bronx have been propelled into an unlikely bond by a demographic shift. The borough was once home to an estimated 630,000 Jews, but by 2002 that number had dropped to 45,100, according to a study by the Jewish Community Relations Council. At the same time, the Muslim population has been increasing. In Parkchester alone, there are currently five mosques, including Masjid Al-Iman.

“Nowhere in the world would Jews and Muslims be meeting under the same roof,” said Patricia Tomasulo, the Catholic Democratic precinct captain and Parkchester community organizer, who first introduced the leaders of the synagogue and mosque to each other. “It’s so unique.” [READ MORE…]

Interfaith Peace Workshops Launched in Pakistan


Interfaith News, January 25 2012

"Say Peace", a two-day workshop on ‘Peace and Conflict Resolution,’ organised by the Interfaith League against Poverty (I-LAP), concluded on Saturday evening in which workers and volunteers from all regional offices of the organisation participated.

The objective of the training was to create awareness about the conflicts existing in the society on the basis of ethnicity as well as religion, which are causing hatred and violence and the ways and means to defuse and dissolve those conflicts by promoting tolerance, respect for humanity and harmony to bring about peace in the society.

During the two-day workshop the participants on the first day covered trainings on peace modules, while the second day comprised of thorough discussions and presentations on case studies from the field, practical peace interventions and research theories applied throughout the world in conflict hit areas. Training sessions were taken by the trainers of national and international stature, including of I-LAP Chairman Sajid Ishaq Sandhu, who deliberated at length about the strategies, ways and means to handle these highly sensitive issues and work in a way that should pave the way for promotion of peace, resolution of conflicts and for the dissemination of practical ideas for peace including its development aspects. [READ MORE…]

Interfaith Youth Meet in Cambodia

RFP Interfaith Youth Network pushes for Progress on the Mine Ban Treaty in Cambodia

October 17, 2011

Leaders of the Religions for PeaceGlobal Interfaith Youth Network have lobbied government representatives of their respective countries to do more to realize a full implementation and universalization of the treaty to ban landmines during a conference in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in December.

Through the International Campaign to Ban Landmines – Cluster Munitions Coalition (ICBL-CMC), the youth sought to push for progress in accelerating clearance of mined areas, stockpile destruction and observation of transparency reporting obligations specified in the treaty. Additionally, they called for sustained resource provision to support the work and expansive mined-risk education for non-state parties to accede to the treaty and the need to assist all land mine victims and survivors . [READ MORE…]

Interfaith Youth Take on Landmines in Poland

Against the Landmines – Religions for Peace campaign in Poland

You Tube, January 22, 2012

Religions for Peace European Interfaith Youth Network, completed its two-year Arms Down! Campaign with its final project – “Poland Free from the Landmines!” in October – December 2011. The campaign was organized by Religions for Peace Europe and The European Interfaith Youth Network, in partnership with other Polish organizations. As part of the project, over five hundred youth took part in writing letters to the Polish members of parliament, regarding ratification of the Mine Ban Treaty. Watch a short video documenting final steps in the campaign against landmines and the transmission of the letters to the Parliamentarians. Watch the Video

Pope Promotes Young Adult Jewish-Catholic Dialogue

A Wish For Jewish-Catholic Dialogue In 2012

by Anita Bourdin, Zenit, January 17, 2012

Benedict XVI's invitation to promote peace by working with the youth is right on target, according to the Jewish founder of a New York-based organization that aims to reconcile religions. Gary Krupp, founder of the Pave the Way Foundation, spoke with ZENIT on the occasion of the annual day of Jewish-Catholic dialogue, celebrated in Italy today.

ZENIT: On the occasion of the annual day of dialogue with Judaism organized by the Catholic Church in Italy today, could you explain the aim of the Pave the Way Foundation, which you founded?

Krupp: The Pave the Way Foundation (PTWF) is a non-sectarian organization that seeks to remove obstacles between the world's religions. Jewish-Catholic dialogue has been an important part of understanding one another's faith traditions and that clears away prejudices and hatred. PTWF, however, concentrates our efforts on identifying concrete obstacles and seeks to remove them. First, through our historic gestures we establish a level of trust and then we can move to accomplish our core mission. Religion must be removed as a tool to justify private agendas. Removal of this abuse makes dialogue easier. [READ MORE…]

Praying & Chanting Each Month for Peacespan

Interfaith Peace Chant

Regional Interfaith Network, January 25 2012

Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman of Great Barrington MA founded The Interfaith Peace Chant. The Chant group meets monthly at the Quaker Meeting House in Great Barrington,MA to pray together from all faith traditions, for Peace. We have had spiritual leaders attending and leading chants from the Christian, Sufi, Sikh, Native American, Buddhist and Jewish traditions so far.

The vision statement is:The Interfaith Peace Chant honors the integrity of all faith traditions and welcomes people from [Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman, founder of Interfaith Peace Chant.] all faiths to express their unique voice for peace. We recognize that focus on peace through prayer and chant brings a sense of inward and outward peace for oneself and the world.

Joining together each month as one community, with a focus on peace, we honor our diversity and our unity through this act of spiritual activism. Please join us, as we deepen our commitment to manifesting peace in our selves, in our community and in the world.

Gathering for about an hour, the participants begin with a statement of intention about this work Then a leader will introduce their chant/prayer- explaining the source of the words and the meaning. They will lead often by call and response and the group will do each chant for 5-10 minutes. Each chant is followed a period of contemplative silence for several minutes. Then, the next leader will introduce their chant, with a teaching from their tradition or perhaps a spiritual story. The group chants together in a variety of languages and each chant is always followed by periods of quiet contemplation. There is a peace that is evoked within each participant and which flows through the group. Usually there are about 5 chants during the hour. Chants have been in Hebrew, Latin, Sanskrit, Hindi, Cree, and Arabic. [READ MORE…]

Greening America’s Sanctuaries

Interfaith Group Wants Religious Community to Think Green

by Oseye T. Boyd, StarPress.com, January 2012

MUNCIE, INDIANA – Eradication of poverty has long been a quest among religious groups. Caring for the environment not so much. Newly formed group Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light, part of the statewide chapter, is changing that thinking. The group was started with the intent to increase awareness of environmental issues. That means promoting energy conservation, renewal and efficiency and sustainable living.

Still in infancy, Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light will have a workshop Saturday for interested individuals to explain the faith and environment connection, founding member Jennifer Rice-Snow said. Rice-Snow and her family attended the initial meeting of the state chapter, and from there, she started a creation care group at her church, High Street United Methodist. She then reached out to people outside of her congregation.

"Poverty is something that people of faith have been working on for a long time," Rice-Snow said. "It's a newer thing to see that when we have faith in the creator, we have a responsibility for the creation. I see a lot of people who don't go to church taking a lot of leadership in taking care of the Earth. I have a lot of respect for that. I'd like to see our faith-based communities step up to that." [READ MORE…]

Scarboro Mission’s Golden Rule Poster Now in Urdu

Golden Rule Posters Now in Eight Lanaguages

by Paul McKenna Scarboro Missions Interfaith Dept. Toronto, February 1 2012

Scarboro Missions is proud to announce that the Golden Rule texts from 13 religions have been translated into Urdu and can be downloaded free of charge from the Scarboro site. The translation was done by Shahid Akhtar, an interfaith activist in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

Close to one billion people understand Urdu. Its use is concentrated in South Asia but Urdu-speaking people reside in countries around the world. The publication of these texts in Urdu is an effort to further universalize the already universal message of the Golden Rule.

Below please find the link to the Urdu translation. Feel free to forward this link through your communities and networks for use in newsletters, bulletin boards, websites, mailing lists, list-serves, blogs, Facebook pages, twitter, etc. Clicking the link below takes you to our “Multilingual Versions” page. On the left of your screen, you are given the choice of clicking one of eight languages. Urdu is listed at the bottom of this list. Scarboro Missions Golden Rule Poster