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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!”



Eboo Patel: Egypt, Tunisia and the Youth Revolt in the Middle East 31 January , 2011

Davos, Switzerland — Young people are upending the Middle East. They have both the numbers (approximatelytwo-thirds of the Middle East is under 30) and the facility with the tools of 21st Century revolution (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) to do so.

It was young people shouting “death to the dictator” from rooftops in Iran in 2009. It was young people who chasedBen Ami out of Tunisia. It is young people who are braving tear gas and rubber bullets in Egypt. The threats keep coming, but they keep going — and the whole thing is just getting bigger and spreading wider.

Asked about the uprisings at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Bill Clinton said it was a generation yearning for their place in the modern world. They want to have a say in their society, they want to shape their own destiny. This is a desire deep in the human condition.

Mohamed ElBaradei may well be the face of the opposition movement, but here in this snowy, sleepy Swiss hamlet, far away from the hot and smoky streets of Cairo, is the man who may have been the spark. READ MORE



The Daily Show: Interview with Mustafa Barghouti and Anna Baltzer 29 October , 2009

Last night there was an interesting interview with Mustafa Barghouti and Anna Baltzer.  Mr. Barghouti was a candidate in the last Palestinian election, winning 18% of the vote on a democratic, non-violent platform.  Ms. Baltzer is a Jewish American activist who has worked extensively in Israel and Palestine.

While this isn’t a topic that World Faith is directly involved with at this point, there were several interesting things that can be noted in this interview.  First of all, Mr. Barghouti, when addressing non-voilence activism, referred to historical activists of varied faith traditions, such as Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi.  He also corrected John Stewart when John spoke in identity terms.  He Barghouti said, “This is not a Jewish issue, an Arab or Muslim issue, but a human issue.”

Also in the wider scope it was revealing.  Candid discourse on the Israel and Palestine peace process is infrequent in the American media.  It came to little surprised that when this discussion happened, that it wasn’t seen in political or polemic terms, but in shared religious values and common human dignity.

Check out the extended interview on Hulu, or go on the Daily Show Website!