InterfaithNews.Net - June 2006

July 8, 2006

Links to the long defunct InterfaithNews.Net website removed April 2012

Reacting to religious fanaticism and the challenges of advancing and sustaining a more equitable civilization, a global interfaith movement has sprung from the grassroots of religion and spirituality. InterfaithNews.Net (INN) seeks to chronicle this movement by focusing primarily on positive interfaith and religious news, events, and resources.

Dear Readers,

As always, each description is followed by a link to the full article on the InterfaithNews.Net website. Please do stop by to read stories both heartwarming and deeply saddening, stories both reflective and action-oriented. Each story has a form at the bottom through which you may leave your comments and thoughts for other readers. On the right side of the main home page screen, you will also find links to several intriguing articles that cannot be legally copied to InterfaithNews.Net.

In my April editorial, I wrote, "If we are to prevent a firestorm of religious violence, we must take the lessons of interfaith dialogue into our workplaces, into social justice, into the halls of governance, into our places of worship. And we must share the stories of our success, the means to our actions, and the inspiration for our visions — that we might advance together towards a future that is sustainable, just, and spiritually fulfilling for people the world over."

If you have a story you would like to publish about interfaith cooperation, religious news, or multifaith resources, you may send it to xxxxxx for consideration.

Peace be with you,
Stephen A. Fuqua
Editor, InterfaithNews.Net


Leaven Collection for the Poor - Jerusalem Youth Interfaith Encounter

With the latest tragedies in Israel and Palestine threatening to shatter the uneasy truce of the past year, it feels heartening to read stories of Muslims, Jews, and Christians engaging in constructive face-to-face dialogue and action. The Interfaith Encounter Association is a network of a dozen or so "encounter" groups in Israel, including the Jerusalem Youth Interfaith Encounter. This spring, these youth struck upon a unique service project: gathering leaven from Jewish households that would otherwise go unused during Pesach and distributing it to Arab families.

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Changing Paradigms in Interreligious Understanding

Shanta Premawardhana, Associate General Secretary for Interfaith Relations, National Council of Churches USA, has graciously allowed us to republish a presentation he recently made at the Connecticut Council for Interreligious Understanding. He begins with a beautiful vision of children from all over the world playing together. With that peaceful meditation in mind, he addresses the nature of interfaith dialogue, delving into and explicating four different types of dialogue that he identifies as Dialogue of Life, Dialogue of Action, Dialogue of Contemplation, Dialogue of Theological Reflection.

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Where the youth are

The question "where are the youth?" is one I have often heard at interfaith gatherings. As one who is still considered amongst the youth (though well into my career), I often feel this myself. At recent gatherings I have taken to looking around the room, wondering who amongst the participants will still be around in 10, 20 years. The interfaith movement only has as much potential as it has human resources. On the other hand, how many of my distinguished older colleagues were involved in interfaith work in their youth? They are there now, and I have faith that left to their own devices, an equal number of today's young people will turn to interfaith work once they get past the prime of their career-building, courtship, and parenting years. Still, interfaith groups need to be developing their young leadership today. In a recent edition of his Sightings project, Martin E. Marty from the University of Chicago Divinity School continues on this theme.

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Commit to sustainable development, fight global warming, Vatican tells U.N.

"The international community must commit to sustainable resource management policies that place the needs of the human family and protection of the environment above commercial and industrial concerns, the Vatican's representative to the United Nations told a May 11 session of the U.N. Economic and Social Council’s Commission on Sustainable Development."

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USAID Announces Funding for the Inter Religious Campaign Against Malaria in Mozambique

“Malaria does not discriminate between Muslims and Christians." The Inter Religious Campaign Against Malaria in Mozambique, working with the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., USA, was recently awarded a major grant to fight malaria from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Update on Arrests of Baha’is in Iran

In mid may, 54 members of the Baha'i community of Shiraz, Iran were arrested while teaching children in a religiously-neutral setting. No indication has been given as to the cause of their arrest. While most have been released, a few remain in jail. Many in the international community see this as continuing evidence of the renewed persecution — alluded to in our April editorial — of the Bahá'ís in their homeland of Iran, where they are the largest religious minority yet do not enjoy equal rights with the majority religion or other minority religions.

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Combating HIV/AIDS demands creative partnerships, religious leaders say

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the recognition of HIV/AIDS as a new disease. In early June the United Nations held a "High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS" to review world progress toward lessening the impact of this pandemic. On the eve of the meeting, dozens of groups representing every world religion gathered for a prayer service and a press conference addressing the need for urgent action beyond mere words and declarations.

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