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Eid Al-Adha: An occasion for promoting interfaith-dialogue

An editorial in Arab News

We need great bridge between our faiths, a bridge of peace linking different societies

Today is Eid Al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice when Muslims recall Prophet Abraham’s (peace be upon him) total obedience to God in his willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail. For Muslims, it is a time of celebration, a time to be with the family, a time to briefly lay aside the cares and stresses of ordinary daily life, a time to recall God’s blessings on humanity and the peace He wills for us all.

This peace is something that we wish for all of humanity — and not just for Muslims. It has to be. We live in an increasingly interdependent world where people of different cultures and creeds come together in a way that was unimaginable a century ago. In our millions we live in the same towns and cities, work in the same offices, shop in the same shops, are educated in the same schools and universities; our homes are next door to one another. Never has humanity been so intermixed.

It was to help build respect between the nations and cultures and thus promote peace that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah launched his interfaith dialogue two years ago. At a time when interfaith dialogue is now growing, Eid Al-Adha can perhaps be a solid foundation for it as a festival not just for Muslims.

Christians and Jews have their great festivals — Christmas and Easter, Yom Kippur and Passover among them. But both also revere the story of Abraham’s (or Ibrahim’s) obedience to God and his willingness to obey God’s command to sacrifice his son. The fact that in Jewish and Christian scripture the son is different — Isaac rather than Ismail — does not deflect from the point that both faiths also see in his action a model of the obedience to God’s will that all humanity should have.

Eid Al-Adha is a great gift from God. Because of the common Abrahamic roots of the three faiths, it is a gift that Muslims can share with others. This would change the way mankind interacts. It would become a focus and an expression of a common humanity. It would knock down so many of the barriers that the bigots and militants try to entrench and exploit.

World leaders talk of the importance of interfaith dialogue. In Eid Al-Adha, a tangible foundation stone exists on which the mutual respect that is the objective of that dialogue can be built. We need great bridge between our faiths — a bridge of peace linking different societies, cultures and nations.

Source: Arab News