The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

How to Use Facebook to Build Friendships Between French Muslims and Jews 19 July , 2011

PARIS (JTA) — At a glance, the Muslim-Jewish picnic at the peace fountain in Yitzhak Rabin Garden, in this city’s Bercy Park, looks like a reunion of old friends.

Middle-aged men and women sit on blankets and laugh together, snacking on carrots and Middle Eastern pastries. A circle of women dances wildly to the tunes of a guitarist and tambourine player.

But many of the 100 or so people there have never met — at least not face to face.

They are part of a groundbreaking group that is trying to build bridges between Muslims and Jews in France by fostering a community on Facebook where members can interact directly online about the issues that divide them, and then meet at occasional social gatherings like the recent picnic in Paris.




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.




WWJD? A Non-Violent Conflict Resolution for Palestine 9 June , 2011

How could a person living under military occupation, experiencing first-hand suffering and humiliation, even think about loving the enemy, let alone urge family, friends and neighbors to do the same? This challenging message came from a young rabbi named Jesus in his “Sermon on the Mount.”

Of course, Jesus could have suggested we make peace with our enemies or negotiate peace agreements or peacefully resolve conflict; those statements would have been as shocking to the suffering Jews of that time. Instead, he entreated them to go further: to “love” them. This was the word he chose — a command to all those who seek to follow him.



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!