Thursday, 18 December 2014

Jay Phillilps Center for Interfaith Learning

For your edification and education and exploration - a very interesting interfaith site...

The Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning is a collaborative enterprise of the University of St. Thomas and Saint John’s University (MN), and it also serves the College of Saint Benedict (MN), which shares a common curriculum with Saint John's. Its mission is to promote interfaith learning, friendship, and service among people of various religions.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Multifaith Advisory Group (MAG) and Faith Communities Council of Victoria (FCCV) respond to #SiegeSydney

Faith Leaders Call for Unity and Peace
Tuesday, 16 December 2014 
The members of the Victorian Multifaith Advisory Group (MAG) and the Faith Communities Council of Victoria (FCCV) would like to offer our deepest condolences and sympathies to the victims of the Sydney hostage crisis and their families.  We also extend our sincere gratitude to the police and emergency services personnel who put their lives at risk in the service of others.
We are shocked and saddened by this terrible act of violence and our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this tragic event.  
Australia is a diverse and harmonious place where people from many different cultures, religions and spiritualties have made their home.  Together, we live in peace and respect one another.  
We support the National Board of Imams and the wider Muslim community who have stated that the beliefs and acts of the individual responsible do not reflect the teachings of Islam, nor the desire for peace of Australian Muslims.  
During this sad and difficult time we call upon all Australians to unite in affirming peace and continuing to support one another.  
The overwhelming community support, including the #illridewith you Twitter campaign is heartening and reflects our shared humanity and values.  
We encourage all people to reach out to each other in the spirit of peace.     
The MAG consists of approximately 20 senior representatives from Victoria’s diverse faith communities, including the Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and interfaith communities. The MAG represents the voice of Victoria’s faith leaders to the Victorian Government.
The FCCV is an umbrella multifaith body contributing to the harmony of the Victorian community by promoting positive relations between people of different faiths and greater public knowledge and mutual understanding of the teachings, customs and practices of Victoria's diverse faith traditions.  
This statement is supported by the following MAG members:
  1. Anglican Archdiocese of Melbourne
  2. Baha’i Community of Victoria 
  3. Coptic Orthodox Church Diocese of Melbourne and Affiliated Regions
  4. Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria
  5. Gary Bouma, Chair of Interreligious and Intercultural Relations – Asia Pacific region
  6. Hindu Council of Australia, Victoria Chapter
  7. Hindu Foundation
  8. Interfaith Centre of Melbourne 
  9. Islamic Council of Victoria
  10. Jewish Communities Council of Victoria
  11. Lutheran Church of Australia, Victorian District
  12. Rabbinical Council of Victoria
  13. Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia, Australian and New Zealand Diocese
  14. Salvation Army, Victoria
  15. Sikh Interfaith Council of Victoria
  16. Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria & Tasmania
  17. Victorian Council of Churches
  18. Victorian Multicultural Commission
Media contacts: 
  • Bishop Phillip Huggins, Anglican Archdiocese of Melbourne, 0418 799 515 
  • Nail Aykan, Islamic Council of Victoria, 0430 545 800
  • Rabbi Ralph Genende, Rabbinical Council of Victoria, 0411 417 174

#illridewithyou is surging forward, breaking down barriers and building community

Please go to the ABC site for a larger version of this
and the accompanying article.

Not just interfaith - it's community

Love this pic from the SBS site.
Australians are catching on - this not just interfaith, it is community!

A reflection on the sad events at the Lindt Cafe...

Below is an excerpt from a thoughtful and well-reasoned article in New Matilda yesterday.  
Please go here to read the article in its entirety.

16 Dec 2014

The Narrative Must Shift: Randa Abdel-Fattah On The Need For A New Conversation

By Randa Abdel-Fattah
The exploitation by media and some in our community of the events of the Lindt Cafe siege compel a different response, writes Randa Abdel-Fattah. 
It’s an ISIS flag. No it’s not. It’s a flag with Islamic writing. Wait Islamic isn’t a language. Sydney is under siege. Well, actually a man has taken hostages in a chocolate cafe in Sydney. The police are working on the situation. No Ray Hadley is… no the police are… no Ray Hadley… Devices have been planted around the city. We’re not sure how we know this because no contact has been made with the gunman but let’s whip people into a frenzied panic anyway. People have evacuated nearby buildings… except for those who were taking selfies one hundred metres from the cafĂ© and posting them on social media.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Unlike people, heartache doesn't discriminate ...

Words are insufficient to express our sadness - but, Sydney, we are with you


We are one but we are many and #illridewithyou

We are one - But we are many 
And from all the lands on earth we come 
We'll share a dream - And sing with one voice 
I am, you are, we are Australian

Read this below and then go to the original article:
With hostages still in danger and central Sydney in lockdown, residents have turned to social media to spread a message of tolerance.

Locals have became concerned about the potential for rising intolerance or aggression towards people wearing religious dress.

One woman started what soon blossomed into a social media campaign to stand in solidarity with the city’s Muslims.

Tessa Kum, a TV content editor and writer living in Sydney, told Guardian Australia she acted after seeing a tweet from Michael James.  She then posted offering her company to anyone in religious attire on her route.

Fellow Twitter users swiftly joined in, offering their support.

Others picked a broader context to reinforce the statement.  And, much like the #putoutyourbats tribute to Phillip Hughes, the idea has caught on.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Comprehending the message: The difference between the Shahada and the ISIS flag

 The Shahada on black background on the left.
The Islamic State (ISIS) flag on the right.

What Is the Shahada?

The Shahada (also spelled “Shahadah”) is the Islamic Creed,
one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
The word “Shahada” comes from the verb shahida,
meaning “he testifies” or “he bears witness.”
In reciting the Shahada, a Muslim bears witness
 that Allah is the only true god,
and that Muhammad is Allah’s prophet.
The shortest form of the Shahada would be translated:
“There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
Longer versions are common, especially those beginning with
 “I bear witness” or “I testify,” e.g.:
“I bear witness that there is no god but Allah,
and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
The question then is:
Are sympathisers with Islamic State appropriating the Testimony
for purposes which endanger human lives?
Postscript 2014-12-16
The Sydney Siege ended at 2 a.m,
The answer to the question above is:
A resounding yes.

A thoughtful post script from The Conversation