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April Editorial

Introduction to the April 2006 edition of InterfaithNews.net, with editorial reflections on religious freedom and the importance of speaking out and sharing stories.

By Stephen Fuqua

Dear Readers,

Whether we speak of the fate of a Christian convert in Afghanistan [Wikipedia], Muslims in the United States [CAIR], or the Bahá’ís of Iran [UNHCRC], religious freedom is not today as respected around the world as it should be.

Religious freedom is a serious and ongoing challenge for millions of people around the world, one that raises many questions about the ability of religions to progress and adapt to new circumstances — including whether or not we should expect them to do so. I cannot tell clerics and communities how to interpret the words of their Prophets, peace be upon them. I can only ask that we guard freedom of belief for all religionists — as well as those who do not believe — regardless of whose path they follow.

Executions for apostasy, desecration of holy sites, and incitement of hatred of other religions by media personalities (be they in Iran, Denmark, or the United States) are all examples of how “religiously motivated violence” includes far more than just out-and-out warfare. If the interfaith movement is to address this violence, then religionists of all stripes must bear witness to the need for constructive dialogue and must raise their voices in proclaiming a unified front not just against fanaticism, but for peace among religions.

That is why I am thankful that the Council on American-Islamic Relations made a clear call for the release [CAIR] of the Afghan convert, citing numerous passages from the Qur’an in their defense of this man’s freedom of choice. Likewise it was heartening to see the National Council of Churches [NCCCUSA] standing “in solidarity with North American Islamic organizations” and calling for a “dialogue of civilizations” in response to the cartoon crisis.

If we are to prevent a firestorm [URI] 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.

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

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2 Responses to “April Editorial”

  1. » On April 11th, 2006 at 6:24 am Barnabas quotidianus » Blog Archive » ‘A world-devouring fire…’ Said:

    […] Stephen Fuqua’s April editorial on InterfaithNews.net airs a concern that the whole world faces, whether we like it or not. Religious freedom. […]

  2. » On April 14th, 2006 at 6:46 am Phillipe Copeland Said:

    This is a wonderful editorial. Just to let you know I’ve included InterFaithNews as a link on my blog so more people can check out your work. I’ll be a regular reader of InterFaithNews.

    Keep it up!

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