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Books and Documents

Interfaith Dialogue

Over the course of the next century, scholars, often in collaboration with Arabic-speaking Jews, became aware of the intellectual legacy of Islamic culture preserved in the libraries of Toledo....

 

Every religion has changed the course of history and uplifted societies. It has demonstrated its relevance and usefulness throughout history, and the modern age is no exception...

As Indians we do not expect that our heroes are given any space in Pakistan, and that is why I say that these reports seem strange. But the fact is that Indians are mostly ignorant of Pakistan and our knowledge is second-hand and comes from a deranged Indian media....

Indian women in saris carefully place candles at an outdoor grotto of the Virgin Mary and kneel in prayer as couples from Uganda and Nigeria pour into the nearby chapel. Arab Chaldeans, Maronites, and Latin Catholics laugh together as they enter a unified Arabic-language Catholic church service; Egyptian and Sudanese families gather in front of the next-door Coptic church; and English expats head into the Anglican church.....

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hour of triumph has been described by some as prolonging a ‘nightmare’, by others as an electoral demise of secular India, that the Hindu mind has been ‘seduced’ by ‘envy and hate’. This seems to suggest that Hindu voters were only waiting for an alchemist to bring to boil....

Does the lengthening list of atrocities by terrorist cells of ISIS, Boko Haram, al-Qaida, al-Shabaab and the Nusra Front have nothing to do with Islam? Is it really illiberal to inquire “into the religious opinions” of those who perpetrate these atrocities? Or is it suicidal not to?...

In the Quran, Muslims were told to believe in the Books before the Quran, the Injil or the Bible. Muslims are also permitted to marry the “people of the Book” without them converting to Islam.....

 

Islam has had a long and illustrious history; it once was the epicentre of culture, Knowledge, and the professions (Law, Medicine, Accounting, and Numerology) – Islamic contribution to Knowledge is massive. I do not believe that a religion so versatile and so deep in its conservation and transmission of knowledge could be reduced to whatever the fundamentalists now preach....

The Qura’nic vision of peace is not limited to the borders of the particular country or the confines of its own followers or community; rather it addresses all of humanity. Islam calls on people of different faiths to have mutual respect for each other…

But, most crucially, it was his spectacular success in winning over the non-Muslim religions of India that ensured the stability of his long reign and established his dynasty. His constant acts of kindness to the Hindus and Sikhs were legendary....

“The Bible also gives us examples of people who fasted and prayed, using different types of fasts for different reasons, all of which are very positive results. Jesus fasted and prayed. Jesus’ disciples fasted and prayed after the Resurrection….

 

Such people with only divisive and dirty agenda need to be called out, exactly the way we call out all Islamic terror every single time. If you don’t, I am sorry you are one of them....

I see the Sri Lanka carnage as a well-orchestrated manoeuvre to thwart Christian- Muslim amity which manifests itself in Palestine and is growing in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement directed against Israeli occupation. This then is the real link between New Zealand and Sri Lanka....

Bigotry also grips Sri Lanka, the bigotry of Buddhists who display none of the compassion that is associated with the Buddha but are impelled instead by an arrogant conviction of their right to monopolise authority. The blistering feud between the President and Prime Minister is being played out against a backdrop of ethnic tension and horrendous unburied memories of the 26-year civil war that killed between 70,000 and 80,000 people....

Soon after, the soldiers told my father that it was time for him to leave. They wanted to use our house as a command centre. My father politely but firmly refused: “I am a peaceful man. I am not your enemy. There is no need for me to leave. If it is not safe for us in our own home, then it will not be safe for us anywhere.”...

 

The Christian world is divided between the Western and Eastern branches, with the Arab world's Christians largely falling into the latter category. But the Arab Christians have been abandoned and are easy targets for their enemies....

 

Do Malaysians suffer the presence of each other? Do they dislike people who are different from them? Would Malaysians be happier to be in a country where everyone looks the same, is the same, follows the same religion, practices the same culture and speaks the same language?...

 

The Sheikh clan in gulf countries is regarded as religiously superior, economically sound & placed at top in social hierarchy whereas, at most places in Indian sub-continent, Sheikh Rajputs are considered as the first to embrace Islam. The Saraswati Brahmin, including Mohyals, is believed to have adopted Sheikh as their title upon high caste conversion to Islam....

 

The Turkish army, a member of NATO, also boasts about Turks having "subjugated and dominated numerous peoples, nations, and states over a wide-ranging geography extending from Asia to Europe, and Africa."...

 

In the 20th century, European colonialism, the creation of Israel and the emergence of Arab nationalism, imbued with elements of anti-Semitism, divided the Jewish and Muslim communities and set them on different paths. Fearing violence and persecution, Jews left the kingdom for Israel and elsewhere....

 

In Christchurch, New Zealand, last month a white supremacist gunned down 50 Muslims at prayer. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, last October a white supremacist gunned down 11 Jews at prayer...

Prior to the prayer service, one of the Buddhist adults, Mary, asked if there was some place the Buddhist teens could go to do their evening chanting. I was struck by this question as I had not anticipated it. Quickly thinking about what Mary asked...

Like Islam, Buddhism has sustained created one of the most enduring and beautiful cultural and civilisational projects of mankind and can’t be charged with either escapism or asceticism or extremism. ...

 

In these religiously divisive times, it’s soul-gladdening to remember that Sufis, Muslim mystics, celebrated Holi and Diwali and never thought that the festivals of Hindus were confined only to Jashn-E-Butparastaan, ‘idol-worshippers’. ...

 

The first time I picked up flowers and other offerings from a Muslim vendor outside the Siddhi Vinayak temple in Mumbai, I felt as queasy as the man in the Brooke Bond ad who comes to buy an idol of Lord Ganpati only to discover the seller is Muslim.

We should similarly dismiss all bigotry from this country and salute the Muslim Ganpati worshippers both in the ad and outside the temple. And the Hindu child facilitating the Namaaz of her Muslim friend. That is the real India....

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