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Interfaith Dialogue

It was a surprise of surprises to me. Holi in Pakistan! Was I dreaming? I pinched myself. No, I wasn't dreaming. Nonetheless, I went to the department on the day of Holi. It was a colourful spectacle to behold. There were colours everywhere. Students and professors were playing Holi. The moment I entered the department, all greeted me with Holi Mubarak ho in chorus. It was really unexpected. Dr Abbas told me that Punjab University had been celebrating Holi right from its inception in 1882 and the tradition was never broken even during and after partition....

This fundamentalism is a recent phenomenon. In the past, the influence of the Sufi and Bhakti movements encouraged harmony between the communities. In Alam Mein Intikhaab Dilli, Maheshwar Dyal writes, “Holi is an ancient Hindustani festival which is played by every man and woman irrespective of religion and caste. After coming to India, the Muslims also played Holi with gusto, be it the Badshah or the Faqeer."....

More contentiously, both luminaries confessed to being exasperated at times by the general view that religion was a separate, optional and fenced-off part of human life. For many people, noted Ms Siddiqui, “belief in God is part of their culture, so they cannot think of their culture without belief in God.” Lord Williams likewise observed that for much of human history, religion had been as integral to society as cooking or making music. People living with that mindset simply could not imagine a community without a sense of the sacred....

Gradually, a cult of river worship developed in some of the areas where the Indus flows. The devotees personified their beliefs: Muslims would call him Khawaja Khizar, Zinda Pir, and Sheikh Tahir, while Hindus would evoke him by the names like Uderolal, Amar Lal, Uday Chand, and Jhulay Lal...

 

Semi-divine females or Yoginis have been an integral part of the Indian folklore. These women were naturally beautiful and had voices which could charm the listener by the emotional intensity of their songs, a sort of heavenly chant which was not of this world. Many a king and commoner was enchanted by Yoginis who appeared suddenly in wood, glen and dale or standing under a gnarled tree or beside a stream where the angler was taken by surprise….

 

Nowadays, the storm of intolerance has been spreading like wildfire across the Asian region, and in Pakistan, you can read chapters of intolerance in many headlines - Ahmedis are targeted, Christians' villages are being set on fire, Shia, Hazara community have it equally difficult et al. Hindus face the same problems as other non-Muslim communities.....

I also know that our fellow Islamic citizens in Australia overwhelmingly join me and the rest of us in condemning Sharia as an oppressive, archaic, harsh and undemocratic code of law when it is used by extremist groups and governments to terrorise and control Muslim people – especially Muslim women – in some Muslim majority nations....

 

“To come to the U.S. and create this amazing life where everyone felt safe and secure and able to be who they were, that was an incredible thing coming from Eastern Europe,” Ms. Perle, a hospice medical social worker, said. “For this to have happened where my family has been laid to rest was just heartbreaking. These are unconscionable acts.”...

 

A notable example is Jerusalem, which was twice in history conquered by Muslims. The first Muslim conquest was in 637 under Caliph Hazrat Umar (RA), and the second occasion was in 1187 when Salahuddin Ayyubi (known in the West as Saladin) conquered Jerusalem from the Christian Crusaders. After each conquest, Muslims treated the people of Jerusalem, comprising mostly of Christians, with great humanity and tolerance...

 

Religion is concerned with the science of the knowledge of man’s real nature and with the development of the consciousness of the eternal truth of the spiritual unity and solidarity of humankind and of civilization. Religion has no social or political status, and there cannot be any such thing as a ‘minority religion’ or a ‘majority religion’, and, ipso facto, there can be no ‘religious minority’ or ‘religious majority’....

The cartoon in question depicted Moses and his fellow Israelites walking together right after the parting of the Red Sea. Moses, with staff in his hand, was pictured as bragging about how he accomplished the miracles. Others walking with him, however, were complaining about his bragging. One was suggesting that he should have defeated the pharaoh’s soldiers. Two others were telling him to “shut up” and even using the F-word….

In this regard, it is instructive to note that the Quran says that the Torah contains ‘guidance and light’ (5:44). Those who have read the Quran would know that it refers to the Bible in several places. Many famous commentators on the Quran draw on the Bible in explaining several Quranic verses. Likewise, it is worth mentioning here that the Quran (26:196) talk about Zubur Al-Awwaleen, which means ancient books. Some Muslim scholars point out that this might also include Hindu scriptures, which according to Hindu belief contain Divinely-revealed knowledge and are called in Sruti in Vedic terminology.....

What Jesus Can Teach Today’s Muslims
Mustafa Akyol
What Jesus Can Teach Today’s Muslims
Mustafa Akyol

Can we Muslims also reason, “The Shariah is made for man, not man for the Shariah”? Or, like Jesus, can we also suggest that the Kingdom of God — also called “the Caliphate” — will be established not within any earthly polity, but within our hearts and minds? If Jesus is “a prophet of Islam,” as we Muslims often proudly say, then we should think on these questions. Because Jesus addressed the very problems that haunt us today and established a prophetic wisdom perfectly fit for our times....

“Alexandre, before being a killer he was a victim himself,” Guillet said to those gathered the funeral, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “Before planting his bullets in the heads of his victims, somebody planted ideas more dangerous than the bullets in his head.”...

 
A Mosque Burns And a Synagogue Shares
Rabbi Allen Maller
A Mosque Burns And a Synagogue Shares
Rabbi Allen Maller

In the small Gulf Coast city of Victoria, Texas, there are several churches, but just one synagogue, and one mosque. At least that’s how it was, until the mosque, built in 2000, mysteriously burned down at about 2am on Saturday January 28, 2017. Now, the synagogue has become a mosque because the Jews of Victoria handed the Muslims the key to their synagogue building, so they could share a place to worship while rebuilding their own Mosque....

The Bible affirms—strongly and unequivocally—the obligation to treat strangers with dignity and hospitality. In “Love the Stranger,” an article written for the annual meeting of the College Theological Society in 1991, biblical scholar Alice Laffey stated that in the Hebrew Bible, the words “gûr” and “gēr” are the ones most often glossed as referring to the “stranger,” though they are also translated as “newcomer” and “alien” or “resident alien,” respectively....

What was it that drew both royalty and the hoi polloi to the Auliya? It was his message of equality and secularism. He celebrated festivals like Basant and the practice continues to this day. Nizamuddin’s mysticism embraced all sections of society as perpetuated by preceding and succeeding Sufis, 22 of whom lie buried in Delhi, making it known as the “Threshold of the Khwajas” As such it is the revered seat of Sufi mystics honoured by both Muslims and Hindus....

 
Jews Unite To Reject Trump’s Muslim Ban
Rabbi Allen Maller
Jews Unite To Reject Trump’s Muslim Ban
Rabbi Allen Maller

I predict that hundreds of American Rabbis and tens of thousands of proud American Jews will sign up as Muslims if American Muslim are forced to register. After all, everyone who believes in the One God of Abraham; and faithfully follows the religion of God’s prophets; actually is a ‘Muslim’ in faith.....

      How are sacred scriptures, wisdom traditions and ethics linked? How many books and commentaries on sacred texts should be read for right knowledge? What is the right path? Can’t we state it in clear terms and stop wrangling over niceties of doctrine? How to know the most important kernel of the Quran and Sunnah or of other traditions? Iqbal says that “Qalandar Juz Do Harfi La Illa Kuch Nahi Rakhta/Tu Qaroon Huwa Hae Lugat Haayi Hijazi Ka.” The Kalima of Islam, like Upanisadic Great sayings (Mahvakyas) is simple and short....

As Quranic statements go, that one is not especially challenging to Christianity; indeed it somewhat resembles the words of Saint Paul that God “has made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the earth and hath determined the bounds…of their habitation.” Even Mr Trump and his advisers could argue, if pressed, that the fraternity between nations and communities which these verses enjoin does not exclude respect for one another’s integrity, including territorial integrity. Perhaps even fences are allowed.....

 
People of All Faiths Reject Refugee Ban
Jerome Socolovsky
People of All Faiths Reject Refugee Ban
Jerome Socolovsky

“My grandparents fled Hitler in the late 1930s. They barely made it out. They went to whatever country would take them, and as you know the United States turned away Jews, turned away 908 Jews on the St. Louis, a ship carrying Jewish refugees that was turned away from the United States. And those Jews had to turn around and go back to Europe where many of them were murdered. And we can’t stand for that for any people, because we know this personally.”....

Someone reported having seen a red animal on a tree, while another asserted he saw the same animal green. Someone else denied it was either; it was yellow. A row followed. An old man sitting under the tree laughed and said: ‘My boys, all of you are right. Only you are not right when you say that others are not right. I live under this tree, and know the animal very well. It is called a chameleon. It is red and green and yellow and much besides....

 
Gaining Wisdom from Other Religions
Sheima Salam Sumer
Gaining Wisdom from Other Religions
Sheima Salam Sumer

One such benefit is that learning about the religions of our human family and their adherents promotes peace through understanding. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught that working for peace is better than engaging in voluntary acts of worship: “Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer? It is keeping peace and good relations between people, as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind.”...

.... Babur, initially unaware of the spiritual prowess of the guru, had him incarcerated. However, he soon realised the genius of the saint and let him go, but not before being rebuked by Nanak at his court. This was the significant moment that was to represent the true nature of the interaction between Sikh gurus and Mughal emperors. No matter how much political strength the emperor possessed, the final power resided with the true king, the guru....

What Christians Don’t Know About Israel
Grace Halsell
What Christians Don’t Know About Israel
Grace Halsell

Yet, increasingly, American Jews have fallen victim to Zionism, a nationalistic movement that passes for many as a religion. While the ethical instructions of all great religions -- including the teachings of Moses, Muhammad and Christ -- stress that all human beings are equal, militant Zionists take the position that the killing of a non-Jew does not count....



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