September 2011

Each month TIO will share a few of the more interesting interfaith stories from the thousands currently circulating. Best interfaith news sources will be surveyed in future issues.

Claremont Lincoln University Launched
Watershed Moment in American Theological Education

by Paul Chaffee

On September 6, 2011, Claremont School of Theology, a distinguished United Methodist seminary with roots back to 1885, joined in partnership with The Academy for Jewish Religion, California, and the Islamic Center of Southern California/Bayan College. Together, they and a number of other affiliates have joined to create Claremont Lincoln University (CLU), an institution like none other before. [Read more ...]

Gift of Blood Ends Pakistani Town’s Bloody History
by Rick Westhead, Toronto Star, Saturday, July 30, 2011

BASTI MAHRAN, PAKISTAN—A single act of kindness, profound because it was so rare and unexpected, transformed this sun-bleached village in a remote corner of the Punjab.

A Hindu man gave his blood to save the life of a Muslim woman who had lost too much in childbirth. In the seven years since, the 1,600 Muslims and 1,400 Hindus in this town live in peaceful co-existence, extraordinary because sectarian violence has marked the histories of Pakistan and India since the bloody partition of 1947. [Read more ...]

Interfaith Relations Ten Years Later
Syracuse Women Transform Their Community

Religions & Ethics Newsweekly September 2nd, 2011

As Muslims were observing Ramadan, an unlikely group gathered in Syracuse at the Islamic Society of Central New York mosque. Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, and Bahai women joined their Muslim friends for the traditional iftar meal that breaks the daytime fast. The event was organized by Women Transcending Boundaries or WTB,  a grassroots group that started in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. These women didn’t know each other ten years ago, and they admit they probably still wouldn’t. But 9/11 changed everything. [Read more ...] 

WTB was also featured in the New York Times, September 11, 2011.

Jews and Muslims in America:  
More In Common Than We Think

by Joshua M. Z. Stanton, August 9, 2011 Common Ground News

New York, New York-Contrary to common assumptions, many Jewish and Muslim Americans enjoy warm relations. Yet we are only beginning to understand how and why this is so. A Gallup report released last week goes a long way to explaining this unexpected trend, which shows that the two diverse communities have more in common than is often thought. [Read more ...]

Back to Assisi: Pope Benedict to Commemorate Historic Gathering
By Cindy Wooden, Vatican City: Catholic News Services, January 7, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI said he would go to Assisi in October to mark the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s interreligious prayer for peace, … Announcing the October gathering, he said he would go to Assisi on pilgrimage and would like representatives of other Christian confessions and other world religions to join him there to commemorate Pope John Paul’s “historic gesture” and to “solemnly renew the commitment of believers of every religion to live their own religious faith as a service in the cause of peace.” [Read more ...] 

Rising Restrictions on Religion
One-third of the world’s population experiences an increase

Pew Report Analysis, August 9, 2011

Restrictions on religious beliefs and practices rose between mid-2006 and mid-2009 in 23 of the world’s 198 countries… More than 2.2 billion people – nearly a third (32%) of the world’s total population of 6.9 billion – live in countries where either government restrictions on religion or social hostilities involving religion rose substantially over the three-year period studied. [Read more ...]

Muslim Woman to Lead College Holocaust Center
By Jonathan Mark, New York Jewish Week, Friday September 9, 2011, 2 Elul 7671  

Manhattan College is revamping its Holocaust Center to include the further study of other genocides, as well as interfaith activities that would include Islam alongside Judaism and Christianity – the two religions that until now have been mostly alone at the core of Holocaust interfaith issues… Perhaps nothing accentuates the change more than the appointment of Mehnaz Afridi, 40, to be director of what will be renamed the Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center. [Read more ...]

Global Centre for Pluralism Appoints First Secretary-General
Ambassador John McNee to lead the Centre’s start-up

OTTAWA, Canada – June 27, 2011 – The Global Centre for Pluralism, a new research and education centre dedicated to the study and practice of pluralism worldwide, has appointed Canadian diplomat John McNee as its first Secretary-General. [Read more ...]