Mabda Report 18/09/11

Jerusalem interfaith dialogue sees increased participation

Religious leaders in Jerusalem are more willing than ever before to take part in dialogue with members of other faiths despite growing political turmoil in the region, said Daniel Milo, the director of the Jerusalem Center for Ethics, prior to the start of the third annual Interfaith and Ethics Symposium on 14 September.

Religious leaders now realized "that the alternative to dialogue is not acceptable," Milo said, noting that attendance at the annual symposium, which delves into interfaith challenges, has grown over the past three years. Still, he admitted, some Palestinian religious leaders from East Jerusalem declined an invitation this year, largely due to internal community pressures.

Interfaith conference emphasizes tolerance

In the week following the 10th anniversary of 9/11, journalists and students convened at Duke to explore America’s complex relationship with Islam.

The Duke Islamic Studies Center hosted a one-day conference in the Bryan Center Thursday for members of the Religion Newswriters Association, titled “Muslims in America: The Next 10 Years.” More than 60 religion journalists from media outlets across the country attended the panels and roundtable discussions, which were open to all interested Duke students and faculty.

“One of the concerns we have is that stereotyping and hatred of Muslims just based on their religion will be very bad for the country in the long run,” said Gilbert Merkx, director of the Duke Center for Islamic Studies. “We have a long tradition of religious freedom in America, but if we start to stigmatize one religious group, it undercuts tolerance.”

Terrorist attacks lead to increase of interfaith dialogue

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks led some Americans to distrust and fear Muslims, Amjad Waince heard stories of fellow Muslims around the nation being attacked by strangers.

Waince, a co-owner of Little Jay's Convenience Store in Westminster, said his experience directly following 9/11 couldn't have been more different.

"I had police officers and people who lived around here coming into the store to check up on me, make sure I was OK, and tell me to let them know if I was having any trouble from people because I was Muslim," Waince said. "Around this corner, we're like a family, so I heard of Muslims getting persecuted in other places, I sort of experienced the opposite of that."