The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

National Scene: Youths Hold Interfaith Event for Peace 28 June , 2011

JAKARTA: Young people from the Indonesian Young Muslim Club, the youth wing of the International Conference of Islamic Scholars (ICIS) held an interfaith workshop for students that ended on Monday in Bogor, West Java.

Program coordinator Miftahul Huda said recent surveys reporting that students were vulnerable to radical groups recruitment had given them the idea to hold the workshop.

“It is time for students to get involved in peace issues,” Miftahul said in a press release made available Monday. “We don’t expect the workshop to result in conflict resolution, but at least we hope we can contribute to conflict prevention.



Learning From My Neighbors: A Sikh’s Interfaith Journey 9 June , 2011

While growing up as a kid in northern India in the early 1980s, I fondly remember one of my best friends in high school, Sher Ali Khan. He was a devout Muslim.

While in 9th grade, Sher Ali called me over to his home for the Islamic festival of Eid. The food at the table was overflowing and beautifully decorated. But a dilemma faced me soon. All the meat on the table was halal — a special religious technique of preparation of meat in the Islamic faith that I as a Sikh was forbidden to eat, due to the Sikh Rehat Maryada (Principles of Sikh Living). So I chose to stay a silent vegetarian that day partaking only of vegetables and sweets.

A couple of months later, he was over at our home for dinner and we had cooked meat without any religious preparation. Since the meat was not halal, Sher Ali became a vegetarian for that meal.

At that time I thought that our religions were getting in the way of our friendship. But as I reflect on it now, it seems that we were learning how to negotiate our religious differences.




Chinese religious circle vows to improve exchanges, contribute to world peace 21 March , 2011

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China’s religious groups pledged to improve exchanges with foreign counterparts and work for peace in Asia and throughout the world during a meeting in Beijing Sunday.

The third session of the Third China Committee on Religion and Peace (CCRP) was held here, attended by about 100 members from the country’s five major religious groups, Buddhists, Taoists, Islam, Catholics and Protestants.

The CCRP members will improve exchanges with foreign counterparts, develop friendships and introduce them to the true picture of China, said Pagbalha Geleg Namgyae, the CCRP chairman and also deputy chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). READ MORE


In Westport, courting peace one basket at a time

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Weston native Mike Evans never imagined his passion for basketball would take him around the world on a peace-making mission. Now he’s planning to apply his experiences in Connecticut to address the school achievement gap among the state’s communities.

Sponsored by the Interfaith Council of Westport and Weston, Evans, 28, presented a lecture titled “Full Court Peace” late Sunday afternoon in the community room at St. Luke Church. The talk focused on Evans’ efforts to use basketball as a means of diplomacy in war-torn parts of the world. About 25 people attended the free session, which was followed by a brief reception.

Mary Attanasio, co-chairwoman of the Interfaith Council, said Evans’ talk had particular relevance to her group’s work. “The council comprises 15 congregations — three Catholic, three Jewish and nine Protestant,” she explained. “Mike’s efforts to enhance relations in various parts of the world, and breakthroughs in Protestant/Catholic relations, in particular, are of great interest to us.” READ MORE about the way that Mike brought Protestants and Catholics in Ireland together with basketball!


On This We Can Agree: 3 Rabbis, an Apostle, and a Prime Minister on Tolerance 21 February , 2011

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“Derech Eretz Kadma L’Torah” [Good character comes before Torah] – Orthodox Rabbi Elazar Muskin

“I am here to contend for religious freedom.” – Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“It is therefore our job at this moment to reach out … to show that respect and equality between people of all faiths and none, is a purpose shared. This change can be managed over time and with care, but come it must.” – Former British PM Tony Blair

Tolerance for diverse religious and political views was the theme of presentations made this month by several rabbis, an LDS apostle, and a former prime minister. This is clearly a topic that preoccupies serious thinkers in many faith communities, many of whom are using their prophetic voice to encourage more civility and decency in the public square. While the presentations did not address identical topics, it was heartening to see Jewish, Mormon and Catholic leaders speak out on an issue that transcends theological and political boundaries. READ MORE