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World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

Joplin’s Eid Gift 31 August , 2012

Filed under: News — Nele @ 10:00 am
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By Randa Kuziez

When Ramadan began, I called my sister and said, “This year, I want to feel like I really earned Eid!” Eid is the Muslim holiday following Ramadan, the holy month of fasting from dawn to sunset daily. She assured me that with the 16 hour fast in Kansas this summer, that wouldn’t be a problem. For a Muslim in Ramadan, this means fasting the entire month, but also increasing one’s worship and good actions, such as reading the entire Quran, praying the daily Taraweeh prayer (an extra prayer in Ramadan that takes about 2 hours every evening), and giving much in charity, be it money, time, or even a smile.

Aside from spiritually enriching ourselves, we need to step up to challenges as they arise. From the tragic shooting at the Sikh Gurdwara in Wisconsin to the burning of the Joplin mosque, we knew we needed to come together. We often discuss the importance of interfaith cooperation and this was a clear example of necessary action.

The day of the Joplin incident, I received a call from a friend who had read a blog I wrote about my visit to Joplin after the devastating 2011 tornado. I wrote about how the Islamic Center of Joplin hosted volunteers who came to do relief work.



Second Interfaith Youth Iftar Pakistan 15 August , 2012

Filed under: Chapter Reports,News,Pictures — Nele @ 10:00 am
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On August 11, 2012, Interfaith Youth in Action / World Faith Pakistan organized its second Interfaith Youth Iftar. More than 50 young leaders from different faith groups from across Lahore and the surrounding areas broke the fast together and pleasant evening.
The main purpose of this Iftar was to offer religiously-diverse youth a platform to get to know each other and to develop friendships. Events like this aim at fostering inter-religious understanding, reconciliation, and peace between Pakistan’s different faith groups.
“This is the second time I am participating in a IYA/WFP activity. It is inspiring to make friends with people form other faith traditions and it helps me to get rid of my misunderstandings about other religions.” (Mr. Hanif Hunzie, Training Officer in PTCL)
“We are living in isolation. These kind of projects help us to build a more tolerant society based on the values of peace and harmony.” (Ms. Anila Noor, Project Manager)
But the event was not without hitches.
“Many Muslims declined our offer after they learned that the Iftar would be held in a church,” explained Shahid Ghouri, President of Interfaith Youth in Action / World Faith Pakistan. “Some people don’t want to eat meals prepared in a church .”
However, the second Interfaith Iftar was a huge success! It brought together youth from diverse backgrounds and gave them the opportunity to learn about each other’s unique customs, traditions, and beliefs. We look forward to our third Interfaith Iftar in 2013!

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How Ramadan Made Me An Interfaith Advocate 8 August , 2012

Filed under: News,Pictures — Nele @ 11:00 am
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By Nicole Marie Edine

When I left my small, non-diverse hometown at the Jersey Shore to attend Boston University, I never would have guessed I would graduate to become an interfaith advocate. In fact, in 2005, the only thing I knew about Islam was that it was somehow tied with civilians from Iraq and Iran. I didn’t hate Muslims or anything, I just never met one. My best friend at Boston University had a friend in one of his classes who invited him to Boston University’s annual Ramadan dinner. He invited me to tag along. Little did I know that this dinner would be a stepping stone into my interfaith life.

Metcalf Hall was decorated simply, yet beautifully with ornate scarves. Around me, students dressed in beautiful salwar kamezes bustled about setting up their last minute touches. On the tables lay a program welcoming us to the event. I was unaware that these bustling students had attended classes all day just as I had, but without taking food and drink.

The program began with the call to prayer, the breaking of the fast with a date, and then a reading from the Quran. After that we waited in line for food. As we were waiting, I looked around to see the diversity of students attending the dinner. Not only Muslim students were present, but their friends who had come for support. Some of my Hindu friends had also joined. Together we sat, ate falafel, and enjoyed each other’s company. Together we learned about Islam, community, and the importance of interfaith understanding. 

Ramadan dinner became one of the important dates of my life at Boston University. Many of my non-Muslim friends would ask me at the beginning of the school year: “When is the Ramadan dinner? We loved it last year and we’d love to go again!” My friends and many others learned about Islam by taking part in an open and inviting Iftar. The Ramadan dinner helped me to realize the importance of the interfaith experience: learning about each other, sharing in our diverse cultures, and working together to move forward.


Islamic Community Center Hosts Ramadan Interfaith Dinner 9 August , 2011

The Islamic Community Center of Atlanta (ICCA) will host an open invitation, free of cost, Ramadan Interfaith Dinner to be held Sunday, August 14 from 7:30 -10 p.m. Muslims world-wide are currently observing the month of Ramadan, fasting from dawn to sunset. The local Islamic center in Fayetteville is extending an invitation to all Fayette county residents to come break the fast (for dinner) with their Muslim neighbors. It will be an evening of international cuisine and a learning opportunity for the entire family.

Ramadan is the 9th lunar Islamic holy month in which Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, wrongful speech and inappropriate actions. The fast is performed everyday from dawn to sunset for the duration of one month.

The Holy Month is a time for Muslims to improve themselves inwardly and outwardly as human beings of good conscience, focusing mainly on spirituality and personal traits such as patience modesty and self-control. This is also a time of reflection on God’s blessings while sympathizing with the less fortunate in the community.



Ohio Interfaith Iftar Welcomes Neighbors 8 August , 2011

CAIRO – Inspired by Ramadan message of solidarity and unity, Ohio Muslims are opening their hearts and doors to their non-Muslim neighbors to share Iftar and help dispel misconceptions about Islam in the United States.

“Muslims strive throughout the month to be connected to the community and you are our community,” Shehadeh Abdelkarim, president of the Islamic Center of Cleveland, said while welcoming people to the Parma mosque, the Plain Dealer newspaper reported.

The Iftar, held on Sunday, August 7, was served at the Parma mosque after sunset and brought together members of Cleveland Muslim community and hundreds of non-Muslim guests.

It was held in collaboration with Cleveland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Highlighting the Ramadan message of share, the interfaith Iftar also aimed at connecting the society through sharing meals and thoughts.



Remembering Ramadan 3 August , 2011

I received strange glances and expressions of doubt when I said that I would be fasting for Ramadan this year. What business does a non-Muslim have in fasting for Ramadan? What is there to gain from depriving yourself of food and water during some of the hottest and longest days of the year? Why should I care?

This month, I will attempt to engage in routine prayer and meditation. I will abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset, and a will make an effort to quell violent and hurtful thoughts and speech. I will attempt to read a significant amount of the Qur’an and New Testament and participate in volunteer and charity efforts that benefit the local or global community.

I am presented with an opportunity to grow in my humanity. This past year, I have constantly found myself over-committed and lacking time for proper reflection and growth. I look forward to taking this time to grow consciously – to nourish relationships, reflect on my goals and values, and grow in love, peace, and humility. In starving my senses, I become aware of the beauty of life that surrounds me. Participating in Ramadan is a test of my personal commitment and ability to set aside the year (and years) ahead for long-term and life-long inner transformation.

Ramadan, to me, is not a ritual shrouded in Oriental mystique, but a profound period of spiritual development and ascension that is practiced by dozens of my friends and colleagues, hundreds of Chicagoans, and thousands of Americans. In a society that often sets spirituality in the periphery of life, the chance to engage in a period of reflection and intention is an opportunity not to be missed.

I have been reminded that I am a non-Muslim. Having been raised in the Catholic tradition, I am familiar with periods of reflection and abstention, and have fond moments of looking forward to Lent as a time to grow closer to God. I still look forward to Lent as a time to focus on the spiritual dimensions of life, but as I grow as an interfaith leader and as I grow to recognize the inherent wisdom in the diverse spiritual expressions of humanity, I see the value in reaching beyond faith divisions and embracing those elements that will guide me on my journey to the Divine.

My decision to fast is also a multi-faceted act of solidarity. In doing so, I am not only standing in solidarity with all the hungry and suffering in the world and with Muslim brothers and sisters. I am standing with all who face persecution based on their religious identities. As we have seen in years passed, Muslims face discrimination and persecution in the United States and elsewhere. As an interfaith leader, I take issue and fight to counter not only this faith-based division, but all acts of faith-based division around the world.

In fasting, I hope to make a conscious commitment to continue my work in the world. Thousands around the world not only suffer from lack of food and water, but from lack of acceptance, love, understanding, and a place to call home. Let us all, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, take time to remember this reality and remember our power to change the world for the better during this month.

An original post by Peter Dziedzic, a World Faither


Delaware sees interest in interfaith dialogue, Muslim man discusses similarities among faiths

BRANDYWINE HUNDRED, Del. — Not many Muslims get invited to be fill-in preachers at Christian congregations, but that’s what happened to Semab Chaudhry at Silverside Church.

Last month the pharmaceutical audit manager stepped into the pulpit for a Sunday talk explaining the reverence that Islam gives to figures such as Mary, Jesus, Abraham and Moses.

“It’s remarkable how much commonality there is among our faiths,” says June Eisley, a member of the Brandywine Hundred congregation. “I wish all Christians could learn this.”

As Chaudhry, his wife, Rabia, and their three children begin their observance of Ramadan they are full of hope for renewal and drawing closer to God, as this is the holiest time on their religious calendar.

They are working on values that Chaudhry observes devout Christian and Jewish friends working on, too. They are values of gratefulness, kindness, respect and generosity. And, Chaudhry says, each of the faiths condemn cruelty and hypocrisy.



Delaware Sees Interest in Interfaith Dialogue, Muslim Man Discusses Similarities Among Faiths 2 August , 2011

BRANDYWINE HUNDRED, Del. — Not many Muslims get invited to be fill-in preachers at Christian congregations, but that’s what happened to Semab Chaudhry at Silverside Church.

Last month the pharmaceutical audit manager stepped into the pulpit for a Sunday talk explaining the reverence that Islam gives to figures such as Mary, Jesus, Abraham and Moses.

“It’s remarkable how much commonality there is among our faiths,” says June Eisley, a member of the Brandywine Hundred congregation. “I wish all Christians could learn this.”




Muslims promoting interfaith relations during Ramadan 1 August , 2011

Starting today, Muslims throughout North America will face nearly 16-hour days of fasting for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is a time of self-purification, self-restraint and inner reflection for Muslims, who abstain from food and drink and other sensual pleasures during daylight hours.

During the month, believers focus on piety, charity and self-improvement.

This Ramadan, however, many suburban Muslims are reflecting on how far they have come as a community in the 10 years since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks sullied the image of the religion practiced by nearly 1.3 billion people worldwide.

On that ill-fated Tuesday, 19 al-Qaida terrorists hijacked and flew two commercial jet airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, another into the Pentagon, and crashed a fourth headed toward Washington, D.C., in a field in rural Pennsylvania.

The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people — mostly civilians — from more than 70 countries, shocked the world, and shook the Muslim community to its core.

Some community leaders view Sept. 11 as a wake-up call that prompted Muslims to come out of their shell. It spurred more interfaith dialogue and outreach efforts, often held during Ramadan, as a means of breaking down barriers and improving relationships with non-Muslims.



Memphis Interfaith holds 5th annual community dinner 6 July , 2011

Memphis Interfaith will host its 5th annual community dinner Sunday, August 7. The theme of this year’s celebration is Serving Thy Neighbor.

The event is a chance for people of all different faiths to get together and celebrate diversity. It is being held in association with the Muslim Society of Memphis. The dinner is set to be part of Ramadan Celebration though the fasting of Ramadan will be broken during the event to participate in the networking and dining with people from all faith groups.

The event will be held at the Great Hall in Germantown. Guests are being asked to bring canned food and other non-perishables to the event.