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MEPEACE Chat - Oct 3

Event Details

MEPEACE Chat - Oct 3

Time: October 3, 2010 from 8pm to 9:30pm
Location: MEPEACE Chat (http://www.mepeace.org/chat)
Event Type: chat, chat workshop, live chat, live discussion, mepeace chat, interfaith, peacebuilding, judaism, islam, christianity, conflict, resolution, october 3
Organized By: MEPEACE.org Dialogue Team
Latest Activity: Oct 3, 2010

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Event Description

Event link: http://www.mepeace.org/events/mepeace-chat-oct-3


We're proud to invite you to the second workshop in our current series about 'Interfaith Peacebuilding'.

Two weeks ago we had a lively and constructive workshop about the 'basics' of Interfaith Peacebuilding, which we now like to follow up with a more specific and focused look at how religion can be used as a 'tool' for peacebuilding and conflict resolution.

There are potentials for peacebuilding in all faiths, which makes religion in general a valuable instrument for peacebuilding. For all religions peace is a central pillar. We want to discuss the specific peacebuilding potentials of as many faiths as possible, but it would be appropriate to focus on the three Abrahamic faiths, i.e. Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Interfaith Peacebuilding practitioners from any faith are more than welcome to share their experience with the workshop participants.

If you are a practitioner and interested in telling your experiences and stories to the audience, please let us know beforehand, so we can organize and structure the workshop properly. We thank you in advance!

This workshop will also be a chance to show the ‘good’ in religion. Muslims can show Jews and Christians that Islam as such is not the faith behind armed jihad. Jews will be able to discuss with Muslims to what extent Judaism is equipped with potential for peacebuilding, and so on.

Our leading questions will be:

How can we learn to see religion as a constructive contributor to conflict resolution and sustainable peacebuilding?

What are the potentials for Interfaith Peacebuilding in the Abrahamic faiths (Islam, Judaism, Christianity)?

What can each religious group/religious peacemaker do to actively promote his/her faith as a ‘religion of peace’?


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Please note that the event will start on Sunday, 03 October at 20.00 Jerusalem time, in the MEPEACE Chat.

If you have any questions regarding the event, please don't hesitate to contact us at mepeace.dialogue@gmail.com.

We look forward to your participation!

The MEPEACE.org Dialogue Team
Çiğdem Yılmazer, Clara Singer, Tanya Kasim & Oliver Haack

Welcome to mepeace.org. Enjoy it, share yourself, volunteer to help and support us. Make new friends, participate in forum discussions or start your own, respect the guidelines and if you have a question see our FAQ. Please share your feedback and invite your friends to join us.

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Comment by Oliver Haack on October 3, 2010 at 7:02pm
Looking forward to hear more, Tanya. See you tonight.
Comment by Tanya Kasim on October 3, 2010 at 11:19am
I'll try to attend this one tonight. :-) I have some reflections about interfiath dialogue from my conversations with Patti and I know of an American Jewish woman who is an activist helping the Palestinian people.
Comment by Eyal Raviv on October 3, 2010 at 10:45am
Looking forward.
Comment by Oliver Haack on September 29, 2010 at 3:32pm
Thanks for that, Stewart. Your reflections will be considered at the workshop.
Comment by Stewart Mills on September 29, 2010 at 12:56pm
From the 3-9 December 2009 over 6,000 people gathered at Melbourne for the 4th Parliament of World Religions. The Parliament of the World’s Religions brought together representatives from the world’s religious and spiritual communities, their leaders and their followers to a gathering where peace, diversity and sustainability were discussed and explored in the context of interreligious understanding and cooperation.

The Parliament of the World’s Religions was a great opportunity to meet people of faith from all corners of the globe; and share with each other what it means to be a people of God. I attended a number of talks which reminded me of how similar we all are despite our different faith backgrounds and cultures. Time and time again people were speaking of the commonality of our faith traditions.

The beauty of the Parliament was there was something there for everyone. I had a particular interest in the Middle East, Muslim-Christian-Jewish dialogue and conflict resolution so this was my focus. However, my wife enjoyed listening to speakers talk about religion and healing; others could meet and discuss religion and the environment or others experience the beauty of music and dance within religious traditions.

Some of the highlights for me were listening to a number of speakers from the Middle East including two Saudi women and 1 former Knesset member; debating an Iranian cleric about Holocaust denial; meeting a US Navy Muslim chaplain who was of Indian descent who grew up in Kuwait and Bombay; meeting a young American Muslim activist who was highly successful in getting an alternate Muslim perspective in the big media networks (eg Fox, CNN, ABC); meeting a young Kenyan Muslim man of Somali descent; listening to former High Court Judge Michael Kirby speak about the struggle of being a homosexual within the church and having in the same forum a Muslim academic speak about the danger of regional apostasy laws in Malaysia; listening to Anwar Ibrahim (current opposition leader and former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia); learning about the struggle of the Ainu people in Japan; having an extended conversation with the niece of a significant figure within the Australian Jewish community; and listening to a conversation between Father Bob and members of the SBS TV show Salem Café.

What were some of the challenges of the Parliament?

Although as people of faith our desire to see commonality is important, one challenge I see for such types of interfaith dialogue is how to create more formal mechanisms for people to have more heart to heart conversations about issues that potentially divide; specifically issues of violent religious conflict. How can we create settings where there are no taboo topics in interfaith dialogue? As people of faith striving to understand how we can live the best we can possibly live; how can we create a situation of openness, trust and grace to allow for discussion in a honest, sincere, loving and compassionate way.

Rabbi Michael Melchior a former member of the Israeli Knesset (he was even a former deputy minister of foreign affairs) raised such a point. He said that he has for years been a part of interfaith dialogue events where “we talk about how Judaism talks about peace, how Islam talks about peace and then we go home and kill each other”. Anwar Ibrahim in his session continued we need to find ways where we can talk about differences with civility and respect for difference. Ibrahim who has served prison time in Malaysian jail said that Muslims need to do better to speak up for the rights of others. He said Muslims have no standing to speak about Palestine the eve if the Hindus are being discriminated against in their own country. He said people of faith need to speak up for each other.
Comment by Stewart Mills on September 29, 2010 at 12:46pm
Below is a reflection I prepared on interfaith dialogue in my home city in Australia. All the best with the dialogue.

1. What are the categories of interfaith dialogue?

What is interfaith dialogue? Interfaith dialogue means different things to different people. Interfaith dialogue includes three broad categories of work:

(1) seeking to build understanding between people of faith;
(2) a means to respond to relatively non-controversial issues; and
(3) a process of peace-building.

The first category, ‘seeking to build understanding between people of faith’ involves learning about commonalities between people of faith. This process focuses on identifying similarities rather than differences as discussion of areas of difference or disagreement may be a source of conflict. This category of interfaith dialogue is the demystifying process. It helps satisfy our curiosity. It aims to show the common humanity of the other and reject attempts to vilify or demonise another based on religious practice. This category involves amongst other things: visits by members of each faith community to each others respective places of worship or sacred spaces; and sharing meals together and meeting members of each community at a personal intimate level. Organisations like Affinity Intercultural Foundation are effective providers of such an experience. The Abrahamic Conference organized by Affinity is a classic example of this. Issues of international conflict are kept off the table and discussions revolve around the similarities of the Abrahamic faiths. Such an approach is an essential part of interfaith dialogue.

A second category of interfaith dialogue is project driven. Like the first category projects undertaken are on non-controversial issues (theologically speaking). The projects seek to build unity through tackling common problems in the local community or of global consequence. Those projects may include domestic projects like helping the homeless or a local environment project. The Al Ghazzali Centre has a particular emphasis on this. Alternatively the project may have global significance like responding to climate change. The Australian Religious Response to Climate Change is one such network that is involved in this project drive style of dialogue.

A third category of interfaith dialogue is focused on peace building. This style of interfaith dialogue involves finding ways that members of faith communities can create safe places to respond to issues of deep conflict. These highly controversial issues (“hot topics”) are discussed in a spirit of humility and grace. The purpose is always to see how we as people of faith (from whatever tradition) can show that religion can be a source for peace rather than an obstacle. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is one such hot topic that has local and global significance and has enormous effect how we as people of faith relate to each other.

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