The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

Interfaith Services a Growing Trend in US 5 July , 2011

Washington—As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, interfaith relations in the U.S. are taking on new importance. A case in point is the growing momentum of the Faith Shared project, an interfaith initiative designed to promote understanding and respect across all religions through joint services.

Sunday, June 26, saw dozens of events taking place in houses of worship across the country, including the Episcopal Church in the United States of America’s National Cathedral in Washington. Led by several religious leaders, including an imam, a rabbi and a priest, the cathedral service included readings from the Torah and the Q’uran. Similar celebrations took place in more than 70 other churches and 32 other states.

 

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Via Jakarta Globe: Criticisms Aim to Improve Nation, Religious Leader Says 14 February , 2011

Yogyakarta. Inter-faith leaders’s criticism against the government is for the improvement of the nation, Ahmad Syafii Maarif said, adding that those who rejected the criticisms did not understand the substance of the problems.

“The aim is improvement of the nation. The strategy is cultural and it takes a long time, years, and not just a short time to realize it,” he said after attending a cultural oration by former President BJ Habibie at Muhammadiyah University here on Saturday.

Top cabinet ministers last month rejected statements from nine religious leaders that the government had lied to the Indonesian people. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono also held a closed-door meeting with the religious leaders following their criticisms. READ MORE

 

World Faith Board Member Joshua Stanton Featured in the Huff Post: The Religious Must Stand Up for Atheists 25 January , 2011

The interfaith movement is beginning to rack up successes. While outbursts of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia (among other expressions of prejudice against religious communities) are nothing new, the growing and remarkably diverse chorus of voices trying to drown bigots out certainly is.

To take but one recent example, when the Park51 Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan was subjected to undue criticism this past summer, the groups that gathered behind closed doors to support its besmirched but beloved leaders included atheists, Jews, Christians, Muslims and more. It was heartening — as were the rallies led by Religious Freedom USA and New York Neighbors for American Values, which drew thousands to the streets to support the rights of all religious communities to assemble on private property. You could feel the interfaith movement surging forward on its remarkable course.

But I am uncertain, if not outright skeptical, that members of the interfaith movement would equally protect non-religious communities that come under similar scrutiny. To take a personal (and rather confessional) example, when a friend was excluded from an interfaith peace-building initiative because of being non-religious, people told him they were sorry. But nobody refused to continue participating in the group. It just didn’t seem like a reason to protest the decision or leave the group altogether.

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By Madeleine Albright: Islam and the West: Reaching Intercultural Understanding 15 November , 2010

The signatories below and I welcome the many initiatives that are underway among governments, in civil society, and within the religious community to expand areas of cooperation between the Muslim community and other actors. President Obama’s trip to Indonesia this week is an important example of the high-level attention that must be given to these relationships. Despite such efforts to enhance communications, serious obstacles remain. In almost every part of the globe, there continue to be people who have chosen — whether out of ignorance, fear, or ill will — to sow conflict where reconciliation is needed. It is up to responsible voices on all sides to make the case for constructive action based on shared interests and values. This is a duty that extends beyond governments alone, to include decision makers and other people of influence from all sectors of society. The standard we seek to achieve is not mere tolerance, but a widespread attitude of genuine mutual respect.

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From The Los Angeles Times: ‘Islam in a nutshell’ explained at Episcopal church 1 November , 2010

The Rev. J. Edwin Bacon, rector of All Saints Church in Pasadena, had just returned from vacation when he heard about a Florida pastor who was threatening to burn copies of the Koran, Islam’s holy book.

“I was disgusted,” said Bacon, whose Episcopal church is known for its progressive stance on many issues, interfaith relations among them. He said he thought: “Rather than burning Korans, we should be studying them.”

The Koran burning never took place. But from Bacon’s reaction was born “Islam 101,” a speaker series that ended Saturday with a lecture by Dr. Maher Hathout, senior advisor to the Muslim Public Affairs Council and a leading voice of Muslims in Southern California.

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RF USA and The Huffington Post 18 October , 2010

From World Faith Executive Director featured in The Huffington Post: The Tennessee Mosque and the Struggle for Religious Freedom

Murfreesboro, a small city you’d pass in a few minutes while taking Interstate-24 out of Nashville to Chattanooga, has never been a town of much interest to the rest of the country. Other than temporarily being Tennessee’s capital (1818-1826) and hosting the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, the Battle of Stones River in 1862, it has remained largely out of the limelight of American affairs.

But Murfreesboro made national attention recently when a local mosque announced a plan to build a new Islamic center to tend to the needs of it’s growing community. Despite being in the community for 30 years, the plan led to large protests, a 20,000-person petition to stop construction, vandalism and, most recently, an arson attack that has frightened the Muslim community throughout middle Tennessee. The rise of anti-Muslim sentiment has revealed itself through the region, with a mosque being rejected for a building permit in Brentwood, Tenn., and another suffering vandalism in Nashville.

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Announcing Religious Freedom USA 3 August , 2010

We are happy to announce the launch of a new initiative called Religious Freedom USA.  RFUSA is a campaign to protect the heritage of religious freedom in America.  Namely, we are address the mounting concerns around Park51, the proposed Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan.  See the story in the Huffington Post, and please be sure to sign the petition.  We are looking for people to make videos of support, and aiming to get campus groups involved.  Please contact us for more information.