The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

Time to Speak Out – Libya and “Innocence of Muslims” Film 14 September , 2012

Filed under: News — Nele @ 10:00 am
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Dear Alliance Supporters,

With all that has happened this week in Libya and across the Middle East, many of us are left feeling that those on the fringe are speaking for all of us. Whether it is the group who made a film that denigrates the Prophet of Islam or those behind the brutal killing of 4 people at a consulate in Benghazi, they do not represent us.

While the media focuses only on the most extreme views, the rest of us don’t get a fair hearing. Many of our leaders aren’t listening either. In fact, some are using this as an opportunity to divide all of us along religious lines. That’s not responsible leadership.

While we stand for freedom of speech, using our freedom to humiliate others is not the way forward. And, while we all believe in peaceful protest, violence is unacceptable. The sanctity of human life must always be respected.

So, we’re calling on all of you now to join us on Twitter under the hashtag #RepresentYourself and speak out, so the rest of the world can hear. In the words of President Sampaio, “You are the Alliance.”

Represent yourself to the world so your voice isn’t drowned out by a vocal and violent minority.  Write blog posts, take pictures, film vlogs, and post them all with the hasthag #RepresentYourself.  Encourage others to do the same.  Call for responsible leadership and responsible citizenship.

United Nations Alliance of Civilizations

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Ground Zero Imam Champions Church-State Separation 11 August , 2011

WASHINGTON — The imam who has faced resistance for plans to build an Islamic community center near Ground Zero said Tuesday (March 1) that pro-democracy movements across the Arab world need to be open to all faiths.

“Government’s coercive powers should not be used against one religion,” Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said at a panel on “Religion in American Politics and Society” hosted by Georgetown University.

Rauf spoke alongside Asma Uddin, the founder and editor-in-chief of the Islamic gender issues website, and Ed Husain, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.




Interfaith News Brief August 2011 2 August , 2011

Dhaka: International interfaith workshop in Bangladesh affirms diversity 

Twenty-four participants and six facilitators from Nine countries gathered at the YMCA Training Center in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from July 9 to 24, 2011, for the interfaith workshop, “Dialogue in Diversity” hosted by the National Council of YMCAs of Bangladesh and conducted by Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF), a joint program of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY) in Hong Kong and the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The participants included Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs and Christians from Cambodia, India, Laos, Pakistan and Thailand as well as Bangladesh. For the first time, an ICF program also included people from outside of Asia as seven participants from the YMCA in England took part as increasingly people of different faiths are finding themselves living in the same community, such as in Bradford.

On 9 July opening programme was chaired by Mr. Babu Markus Gomes, President of the National Council of YMCAs of Bangladesh and Father Benjamin Costa, CSC, Principal of the Notre Dame College was present as a chef guest. Max Ediger, Bruce Van Voorhis from ICF and Jose Varghese from APAY were attended as organizers. In the concluding ceremony Kohei Yamada, General Secretary of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY) attended as a Chief Guest.




Virtual Bridge Allows Strangers in Mideast to Seem Less Strange 14 July , 2011

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Moad Arqoub, a Palestinian graduate student, was bouncing around the Internet the other day and came across a site that surprised and attracted him. It was a Facebook page where Israelis and Palestinians and other Arabs were talking about everything at once: the prospects of peace, of course, but also soccer, photography and music.

“I joined immediately because right now, without a peace process and with Israelis and Palestinians physically separated, it is really important for us to be interacting without barriers,” Mr. Arqoub said as he sat at an outdoor cafe in this Palestinian city.




Kairos Poetry Café Presents: Poetry Reading Open Mic + Featuring: Frank Romano & Obsidian 10 June , 2011

(NEW YORK) – Frank Romano & Obsidian will be featured as Kairos Poetry Café Presents: Poetry Reading Open Mic Sunday, the 12th of June. At this special event, Dr. Frank Romano will read poems for the first time from his new memoir on organizing interfaith events in Israel and Palestine.

Our regular readers are familiar with Frank Romano’s tireless work in forging a road to peace in the Middle east. Every three months he leads a new Interfaith Peace March through the West Bank and others places significant to the long-running dispute between the Israeli and Palestinian people.

Like so many similar efforts, Dr. Romano’s marches are completely peaceful and while they draw their share of sparks and confrontations from authorities, he always gets his message across and it is one of solidarity and humanity and he is joined by Muslim, Jewish and Christian people as well as others who don’t follow any particular faith.



Yuval Ron Ensemble Keeps Middle Eastern Hopes Alight 8 June , 2011

Formed over a decade ago, The Yuval Ron Ensemble is a group of Arab, Israeli, Jewish and Christian Armenian artists with a simple common endeavor: to alleviate national, racial, religious and cultural divides by fusing the music and dance of clashing cultures of the Middle East in a unique mystical and spiritual celebration.

This Thursday evening the enchanting ensemble will be performing for an İstanbul audience in a “Coexistanbul Peace Concert,” at the Sultanahmet Amphitheatre, an event organized by the Intercultural Dialogue Platform (KADİP), the Greater İstanbul Municipality’s cultural body Kültür A.Ş. and the Koza Iş ve Kadın Derneği, a committee with the objective of creating an international network amongst women in business.

Led by Oscar-winning composer Yuval Ron (who composed the film score for “West Bank Story”), the group has come a long way since they first formed in 1999, with their spiritual, unassuming concerts and pure aspirations intriguing and engaging audiences worldwide. As an artist, composer, producer, educator and peace activist, group founder Ron works internationally in film, television, dance and theater counting amongst his many accolades invitations to perform for the Dalai Lama, head of the Sufi International Order Pir Zia Iniyat Khan and the king of Morocco.



Carried by Dialogue from Jerusalem to Gaza 1 June , 2011

Filed under: Interfaith Issues — Administrator @ 10:38 am
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Living in the Middle East, we suffer grievously from conflict and killing, but those who believe in dialogue are optimistic about the opportunities for change, says Rabbi Gideon Sylvester.

Jerusalem – A few weeks ago, I toured British university campuses. Arriving at Oxford Station, I had no idea how to find the synagogue, so I approached a passerby who told me how to get there. As I boarded a bus, the driver cheerfully agreed to inform me when we reached my destination. Twenty minutes later, we arrived in front of a large park and the driver advised me to disembark. “How do I get to the synagogue?” I asked.

“Look, there it is in front of you!” he said, pointing towards the most enormous mosque I had ever seen.

“But I asked for a synagogue, not a mosque!” I pleaded.

The driver shook his head apologetically and said, “I am sorry sir. I didn’t know there was a difference!”