The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

Christian Muslim Forum – Christians and Muslims Working Together 4 September , 2012

Interfaith Youth in Action/World Faith Pakistan became part of the Christian Muslim Forum network. TheChristian Muslim Forum develops strong relationships between Christians and Muslims and believes that faith is a resource for peace and conflict resolution. This is an important step to strengthen World Faith Pakistan’s international interfaith network and to demonstrate how faith can inform work for unity and peace.

Find out more about World Faith Pakistan and there work here:

http://worldfaith.org/south-asia/30-world-faith-pakistan

http://iyapk.weebly.com/about-us.html

 

News from Rajasthan, India 5 June , 2012

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Pictures from World Faith Rajasthan’s water project “One Source – One Community”.

 

Ray Chambers Joins Where’s The Net? 2 June , 2012

Filed under: News — Nele @ 10:00 am
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Ray Chambers, the UN Special Envoy for Malaria has joined Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation’s worldwide campaign: “Where’s the Net?”. Since February, a symbolic anti-malaria net has been travelling in a relay between people of different faiths across the world to raise awareness about malaria prevention. Despite being entirely preventable, malaria still kills 750, 000 people each year.

The net began its journey in Sierra Leone, where a third of children who die under the age of five are killed by malaria. Since then it has travelled to almost 20 countries including: the USA, Mexico, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Pakistan, Nepal, Philippines, and the UK spreading vital messages about malaria prevention.

The campaign has been embraced by people from all walks of life and different faith backgrounds; students, teachers, MPs, Health Ministers, the First Lady of Sierra Leone, Tony Blair and most recently UN Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers. All of their events are highlighted in an online journal and they range from malaria education lessons in Uganda to street plays about malaria by school children in India, plus many more.

The symbolic net was presented to Ray Chambers at his UN office this week by local faith leaders from the New York area: Imam Shamsi Ali of the Jamaica Muslim Center, representatives from UNITED SIKHS, the Muslim-Jewish Interfaith Dialogue, the Interfaith Center of New York and young interfaith leaders working for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

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Youth Bridging Religious Differences 29 May , 2012

On May 26, 2012 Interfaith Youth in Action (IYA) / World Faith Pakistan (WFP) and the Youth Development Foundation organized a bus tour visiting places of worship in Lahore. 58 young people from the country’s different faiths groups participated in the tour which aimed at advancing interfaith relations and cooperation. The bus tour is a practical tool to foster interfaith understanding among religiously-diverse youth which is a determinant for peace and development in Pakistan.

The tour provided a unique experience and opportunity to visit different places of worship and to learn more about the beliefs, practices, and customs of the local faith traditions. The group visited a church, a mosque, a Baha’i temple, a Hindu Mandir, and a Sikh Gurdwara.

The youth of each community welcomed the participants and the religious leaders briefed them on their faith traditions, their history and conflict situations. Following this, the participants had the opportunity to ask additional questions in a Q & A session.

Anila Noor, Participant: Through this event I made friends with people from the Christian, Hindu, and Sikh community which never happened in my life before. Through these friendships we will contribute to build bridges between Pakistan’s different religious groups and we will try to inspire others to engage in interfaith activities.

Shahid Ghouri, Founding President of IYA/WFP: Through this event we provided a safe space for religiously-diverse youth to share information about their own faith and to learn more about other faith traditions. This is an important step to reduce common religious misconceptions and to advance interfaith relationships.

Fr. Ashraf Gill, Catholic Youth Director: The youth should get the chance to solve continuing interfaith differences by engaging in implementable interfaith activities, rather than interfaith seminaries or conferences which take place in an artificial environments, and which turned out to be of little efficiency in the Pakistani context.

At the end of the day all participants had the chance to share their feelings with the group and to explain what they have learned during the day. They were encouraged to make recommendations for future interfaith dialogue.

Recommendations:

  1. Young people should get a better chance to use their potentials and their creative ideas for interfaith dialogue and ecumenism. (Christian participants)
  2. Religious leaders should better include youth to solve ongoing religious gaps to promote peace and development in Pakistan. (Muslim & Hindu participants)
  3. Interfaith groups should be introduced in every educational institution in order to educate, interact, and to develop relations among religiously-diverse youth. (All participants)

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World Faith Announces New Chapter in Rajasthan, India 25 May , 2012

Filed under: Chapter Reports,News,Pictures — Nele @ 10:00 am
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We are excited to welcome our second chapter in India, World Faith Rajasthan – Rajputana Society of Natural History (“RSNH”). Under the leadership of Dr. Satya Prakash Mehra, Regional Director of World Faith Rajasthan, RSNH seeks to improve the water conditions in rural areas through the water project “One Source – One community”. The project aims at bringing the diverse sects from the target area together to work on a common mission – solving the water supply problem in their villages. The RSNH team organizes and carries out activities on water issues, including all sects and castes of the region, and encouraging community leaders to build one strong and united community.

For more information please visit: http://worldfaith.org/south-asia/47-rajasthan

 

World Faith Announces New Chapter In Uganda 24 May , 2012

Filed under: Chapter Reports,News — Nele @ 10:00 am
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World Faith is excited to announce the creation of another chapter in Africa – World Faith Uganda. World Faith Uganda – Buganda Youth Council (“BYC”) & Children and Elderly Support Organization (“CESO”), seeks to transform the communities of Buganda through specific activities ranging from mobilizing, organizing, and empowering young people of different faiths and communities to lead development projects and serve their communities. Project focuses are agriculture and education. Under the leadership of Simon Ssenkaayi, National Director of World Faith Uganda, CESO & BYC aim at building a spirit of “unity in diversity” among young people from different faith backgrounds and leading regional development through sustainable youth-led initiatives.

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For more information visit: http://worldfaith.org/africa/48-uganda

 

World Faith Announces New Chapter In Tanzania 22 May , 2012

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We are happy to announce the creation of a new World Faith Chapter – World Faith Tanzania! World Faith Tanzania – YOPA (Youth Power in Action), is a program established in partnership with the International Development Fraternity (IDF) Tanzania. YOPA focuses on providing college students in Tanzania with the skills they need to prevent and control the spread of HIV, and to initiate their own micro-enterprise businesses. Additional project focuses are capacity building programs, the creation of self employment as well as youth empowerment. Under the leadership of Julius M. Limbitu, National Director of World Faith Tanzania, YOPA will pursue World Faith´s mission of interfaith cooperation through community service projects. We are excited to welcome our new chapter and look forward to a fruitful cooperatio

For more information visit: http://worldfaith.org/africa/45-tanzania

 

Youth and Students Engagement in Peace-Building through Dialogue 16 April , 2012

Filed under: News,Press — Nele @ 10:00 am
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The root of DIALOGUE is the Greek “dia” and “logos”, which means “through meaning”. Understanding Dialogue with Discussion, in Dialogue people are seeking for a more complete picture of reality rather than breaking it down into fragments or parts as happens in Discussion. Having Dialogue is not about convincing others of certain point of view; there is no emphasis on winning, but on learning, collaboration and a synthesis of different points of view instead. Dialogue is towards a community-based culture of cooperation and shared leadership. Thus, a Dialogue of Life is one of the best ways to express ourselves for mutual understanding. Without Dialogue the world would be either silent or suffered from misunderstanding voices.

Why Dialogue with other Religion? This is a burning question of the present time. Religious pluralism has been a wealth of the Asian continent; on the other hand, it has been a fertile ground for conflicts and communal violence. Although supposed to be a personal and community belief of love and peace, religion by vested interest turns out to be an erupting volcano, causing countless sufferings to the toiling masses and the already marginalized.

There must be a clear understanding that the many conflicts and problems happening around in the present world are not caused by religions themselves, but a misuse of religious ideology. Moreover, religion should not be a tool to draw boundaries, but a spirituality to overcome barriers for an inclusive ground. Looking into the social, economic, political and cultural context, youth and students should realise that Dialogue is a way to move forward to build a just society.

Though the initiation of such Dialogue is religion-based, it relies on justice for all, no matter believers or non-believers. A true Dialogue is for the abundant life of all. Peace could not be seen without Justice, which could be achieved only when everyone respects all people and everyone can Dialogue with each other. Last few year I am working with the youth and students and I believe harmony should be pursued and dialogue be practiced at the individual and grassroots levels. Living in the political tension of “minority” and “majority”, facing discrimination even by the legal instrument, and feeling insecure though there was increasing legislation of national security policies, youth and students should read the signs of time and be an instrument to develop alternatives and cultivate just peace. We have to consider that dialogue is a part of life and an ongoing journey for a person to have holistic grow. Dialogue should be a sustainable process with humanity and an integrated approach.

All religions speak about peace and harmony through forgiveness and reconciliation. Religions are positively teaching us to love neighbours including ‘enemies’. However, looking at the present situation, it is quite different and sometimes showing the opposite indications. Some people or groups even misunderstand and misuse religion. Today we are facing the same situation and struggle. Understanding that through religions, cultures are defined and spiritually inspired in history, we must acknowledge the historical fact that there are many different religions. Exclusivism is neither a solution nor an alternative, and we must stop the wider world to continue spreading this vicious circle of insanity. We must meet them, not in the old way, but with understanding and respect of their spirit of self-affirmation. Realising this burning issue, it is urgent to work with the students of different faiths and eventually build up an inter-faith students’ network. Peace through dialogue is a key to uphold justice, which is the passionate desire to motivate people to work towards peace.

All people are unique  masterpiece creation. We are born to be independence with human dignity, the aggregate rights and freedoms of all. As understood in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” This includes freedom to change religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance (Article 18). At the same time, everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms without distinction or discrimination of any kind including religion.

As one of the religions, the Vatican Council in the Catholic Church declares that every human person has a right to religious freedom. It means that all people are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to her/his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others within due limits. (Declaration on Religious Freedom, Dignitatis Humanae on the Right of the Person and of Communities to Social and Civil Freedom in Matters Religious promulgated by His Holiness Pope Paul VI on 7 December 1965).

After the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), the Catholic Church became more open for dialogue between different religions. Based on clear, specific and precise guidelines rooted in the teachings of Nostra Aetate (Vatican Council II), the Catholic Church understands inter-religious dialogue with a definite meaning. In her practice the Church approaches inter-religious dialogue in different ways: reciprocal communication, attitude of mutual respect and friendship, constructive common action, obedience to truth which transcends all and respect for freedom of conscience.

Pope John Paul II said, “The unity of all divided humanity is the will of God”. The Catholic Church in Asia (FABC 7th Plenary Assembly, Jan 2000) regards inter-religious dialogue as a priority in local Churches. The Federation of Asian Bishop’s Conference (FABC) is very much concerned about inter-faith issues; therefore, the Church encourages every Christian to enter into dialogue with other religions. The goal of dialogue is to bring both partners within closer reach of complete salvation. A continuation of awareness-raising and advocacy should be pursued.

In the past, the global community understood peace as the absence of conflict and war. However, in Pope Benedict XVI’s message of World Day of Peace entitled “IN TRUTH PEACE”, peace embodies its own truthfulness because of its undeniably “intrinsic and invincible truth” (no. 3) for reasons that peace corresponds “to an irrepressible yearning and hope dwelling within us.” (nos. 3, 6) Second, the truth about peace is that it is “the fruit of an order which has been planted in human society by its divine Founder…which must be brought about by humanity in its thirst for ever more perfect justice.”

Presently,  I am working with the Youth Net which is interfaith youth network. During our meetings we feel and every one we realize that religious freedom is basic human rights. Respect to religion is an attitude for justice. So inter-faith issues, developing network with different faiths and organising training on inter-religious dialogue are given priority. Youth and students must continue to play the prophetic role to denounce any unjust practices. There must be efforts on critical study of the current realities and effective strategy-planning for structural changes to ensure fairer and non-discriminative means of distribution of the world resources amongst all people and all nations of different religions. The intellect and skills of students should be developed along with Dialogue. Hence, the necessary condition of Dialogue is a mutual respect for the identity and belief of each party and the elimination of any impediments. The intention of Dialogue is not to create one common religion, but harmony with diversity.

Bipul Alite Gonsalves  is Executive Secretary for Programmes, The National Council of YMCAs of Bangladesh, National Director, Y’Net, Interfaith Youth Network, and Regional Coordinator, EASY Net (Ecumenical Asia Pacific Students and Youth Network)

Originally posted on: http://www.theindependentbd.com/faith/104981-youth-and-students-engagement-in-peace-building-through-dialogue.html

 

Mustafa Abdullah on Story Line 11 April , 2012

Filed under: News,Press — Nele @ 10:00 am
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Mustafa Abdullah talks with Miranda Kingsley Kelly.  Mustafa is Egyptian-American and President of World Faith Winston-Salem, a multi-faith organization.  Mustafa reflects on his experience as a Muslim-American living in a post-9/11 world and discusses his motivations to help shape the community consciousness regarding world religion.

 

To listen to Mustafa´s story visit: http://www.storylineproject.org/stories

 

First Coexist Prize Winner Announced 21 March , 2012

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On March 20, 2012, the Coexist Foundation brought together a distinguished panel of religious leaders to discuss how to build bridges between different faith communities. During the First Coexist Prize Ceremony, six finalists were honored for their extraordinary commitment to promote interfaith dialogue.

Lian Gogali, from Indonesia, is the first recipient of the Coexist Prize.  She was honored for her outstanding and courageous work establishing Institute Mosintuwu educating Muslim and Christian women and children in post-conflict Poso. The runners up were Mustafa Ali, the Secretary General of the African Council of Religious Leaders and Dishani Jayweera the founder of the Centre for Peace Building and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka. The ceremony took place at the Skirball Auditorium at New York University in the presence of the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Rabbi David Saperstein, Bishop Mark Hanson and other distinguished Religious leaders, academics and diplomats. Also receiving Highly Commended awards were Joshua Stanton founder of the Journal of Inter-Religious dialogue, Oliver McTernan from Forward Thinking in London and William Ury of the Abraham Path Initiative.

Watch the full program here: http://fora.tv/2012/03/20/Co-Exist_International_Peace_Prize

 

 
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