The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

Dharmic Seva and Vivekananda: The Catalyst to Building Pluralistic Communities 21 July , 2011

The Dharmic American community has an immense, untapped potential to serve at home and abroad. Dharmic Seva can become a catalyst to strengthening and building pluralistic communities. Our ancient expression,Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (The Whole World is One Family) is a key principle driving Hindu American Seva Charities (HASC) as we prepare for the first historic briefing at the White House, followed by the conference at Georgetown University.

The theme of the event is “Energizing Dharmic Seva (Service): Impacting Change in America and Abroad,” and is designed to inspire all toward community service. We will explore ways to further strengthen America through service and honor those within our community who have served, are serving and will serve. We have an impressive slate of speakers coming to share their perspectives.



An Interfaith Generation Unwilling to Wait 13 July , 2011

When religious tension between Muslims and Christians rocked northern Nigeria on January 8th of this year, the refrain of religiously fueled violence sounded so much like it had before. The ‘other’ was at fault for the problems of a region, country, and world. But when the tensions boiled over and violence broke out, resulting in burning down of churches and mosques and the death over 100 people, the response was profoundly different.

This time, young volunteers from World Faith Nigeria took action. Responding to a distress call, they rescued seventy-two passengers from a bus that was set on fire by young attackers.  On both sides were young adults taking action. But this time one set of young adults was responding to save lives and, ideally, prevent future violence.

Nigeria, like many countries around the world, hosts interfaith dialogues marked by the convening of religious leaders to counter acts of violence.  While this work is groundbreaking and necessary, it alone is not enough to turn the trends of religious violence. Violence perpetrated by youth can best be countered by equally motivated youth working toward the greater good.

World Faith helps answer the challenge of engaging young people internationally who have the potential to either cause or resolve inter-religious tensions.  Mobilizing religiously diverse youth to engage in community service projects in conflict-prone regions, World Faith enables local youth leaders to address the local needs of their communities and resolve underlying sources of strife — which are often economic or social rather than religious. World Faith has chapters in nine countries and is continuing to rapidly expand.



UNESCO seminar tackles pluralism, coexistence 13 June , 2011

BEIRUT: Should comparative religious education be introduced into academic curricula for high school students? Or should students only be taught “shared values,” and be spared the worrisome details of theology?

These and other questions were tackled Thursday during a seminar on pluralism and coexistence at UNESCO Thursday, organized by the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO and the Adyan Foundation to celebrate the conclusion of its project “Education on diversity and coexistence.”

Six students presented a common charter to religious figures, representing 13 of the country’s sects and education officials, including caretaker Education Minister Hassan Mneimneh.

The charter discussed the education system’s failure to provide students with an education on religious pluralism and coexistence, and supported introducing the subject of comparative religions based on a unified book, training teachers on religious pluralism and coexistence, and providing extracurricular activities on religious tolerance and coexistence, such as lectures and field visits.

While some of the religious figures expressed their full support for the students’ demands, others hoped that a book on religious diversity would focus on shared human values instead of theology.

Moufid Khalil, the representative of Sheikh Abdel-Amir Qabalan, said that although students should get to know the country’s different religions, a unified religious education book should focus on the human values which these religions share.



Jewish, Christian and Muslim Leaders Look to Scriptures for Lessons on Pluralism 2 June , 2011

WHITE PLAINS — It’s often said that the “Golden Rule” transcends religious differences and offers the surest advice on how to treat others.

It’s a good thing — because our major religious Scriptures can be short of verses that promote the modern goal of “pluralism” in clear, concise chunks, say three religious leaders who traded scriptural interpretations Wednesday.

Lessons on how to pursue neighborliness can be found by those who are willing to look and recall the context in which the Scriptures were written, they said at the YWCA.



Singapore Today: Habits of the heart to counter bigotry 19 April , 2011

Filed under: Interfaith Issues — Administrator @ 9:00 am
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by Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib

04:46 AM Apr 07, 2011
There are uncanny similarities between Mullah Mohammed Omar’s order to the Taliban to destroy Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Buddha statues in 2001, and the recent burning of the Quran by American Pastor Terry Jones that sparked a mob in Pakistan which left 12 dead.

Both started as fringe actors who gained global attention through the media. Both share a narrow vision of religion. Both chose to attack symbols of other religions to make a point. For Terry Jones and Mohammed Omar, their narrow visions dictate that their religion is on a collision course with all others. Beneath that vision lies prejudices and stereotypes that caricature other religions in the most essentialist and prejudicial way: One depicting Buddhists as idol-worshippers, another depicting Islam as a violent religion.

At the centre of their diatribe is politics, not religion.

As a small cosmopolitan city-state, Singapore cannot allow such events to affect interfaith relations here. In fact, with the growing conservatism in Malaysia and the increasing violence in Indonesia towards minority groups, religious conflict and tension seem to be headed closer to our shores.

What will be our response?  READ MORE

For interfaith harmony 18 April , 2011

Filed under: Interfaith Issues — Administrator @ 2:06 am
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We live in interesting times. To respond to a mad act with an equally insane measure is progressively becoming an acceptable fashion across the globe. The recent shameful act of burning the Holy Quran, performed by a Christian fundamentalist pastor in the US and the subsequent response in parts of the Muslim world highlight the urgent need for promoting interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence.

More than 10 people were killed in Afghanistan as a result of violent incidents staged to protest the reprehensible act committed by Terry Jones. Indubitably, the desecration of the Holy Quran is an unbearable crime and an affront to the idea of mutual tolerance among all religions, which is an irrefutable need in this volatile, globalised world. But attacking and killing innocent people in the name of condemning an outrageous act committed by someone else, is not the solution. And Muslims must bear in mind that, at present, the biggest challenge facing them across the world is the negative and distorted image of their religion. So, the only reasonable response could be to ignore the publicity-seeking Terry Jones or condemn his behaviour in a very peaceful manner.

In view of the present state of frayed relations between the two major civilisations, Islamic and Western, it is of the utmost importance that a solution be worked out to reconcile inter-religious differences. Interfaith dialogue can help combat evil forces and rein in fundamentalist elements among various religious communities. In addition, it is the only natural method of relating to people of other faiths and understanding their thinking patterns. READ MORE