MABDA Report 02/01/12

Finding a common word

Christians and Muslims "share more than 95 percent of their religion," said Mourad Amer, a Muslim engineer committed to a joint dialogue in Newport News, Va., that has sought common ground among the two religious bodies for three years.

In a search for mutual understanding, several Lutherans, a Roman Catholic, an Episcopalian and five Muslims began the dialogue several years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Known as the Common Word Inter-Faith Group, members have focused on what they have in common rather than the differences, Amer said.

Tri-Faith Project to construct multi-million dollar interfaith complex in America's heartland

A new project that its creators call the first development of its kind in the world hopes to shed light on those similarities with the building of the new Tri-Faith Project, a large privately-funded development in Omaha on a former country club and golf course that spans 35 acres and will comprise three sites: Temple Israel, the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska (including a church) and the American Institute of Islamic Studies and Culture (which includes a mosque), as well as the large central Tri-Faith Center connecting the three religious centers for common events and meetings.

Twenty young artists recognized for promoting dialogue between Arab and Western countries

Twenty artists aged under 35 will be awarded the title of “Young Artist for Intercultural Dialogue between Arab and Western Worlds” by UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, at a ceremony to be held at the Organization’s headquarters on 13 April (6.30 pm, 7th floor).

This honor is in recognition of the exceptional contribution made by these young artists – through the media of music, dance, writing, theatre, cinema and photography – to dialogue and exchange between Arab and Western cultures. The aim is to enable their work to be more widely appreciated and to encourage other young people to adopt a similar approach. The initiative is part of a series of projects set up by UNESCO and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and financed by Spain.

Murfreesboro Islamic Center has reasons to celebrate

Despite threats, courtroom allegations and even legislation aimed at their faith, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro still had reason to celebrate in 2011. The congregation launched construction in late September on building the first 12,000 square feet of their new mosque and community center on Veals Road, southeast of Murfreesboro. S&A Constructors of Nashville estimates the work to be done in 10 months.

Getting to the historic moment almost didn't happen. The congregation had to defend itself in Rutherford County Chancery Court against more than a dozen plaintiffs who challenged the county's approval of its site plan in 2010 and questioned the real intent, as well as the very religion, behind the new worship center. It took a ruling by Rutherford County Chancellor Robert Corlew III to settle the latter issue.