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Latin America has an important history of cultural and ethnical diversity. Original people (or first Nations) were diverse before the European invasion and had developed important cultural alternatives in order to establish good relationships between different groups. That does not mean that everything was peace, but that they highly valorized differences and could learn ones from the others. For example, Andean people (nowadays from Peru, Bolivia, Equator, Colombia, Chile) build their civilization taking advantage of diversity instead of trying to standardize everything. In that way, they could develop agriculture in the very hard environmental conditions of the Andes.
As companions of Jesus sent into today´s world, a world characterized by religious pluralism, we have a special responsibility to promote interreligious dialogue. Thus keeping in mind the richness of the other faith traditions and in order to make it more practical for the young scholastics in the formation, a four day interfaith seminar was organized by Islamic Studies Association. It was held at Hyderabad in coordination with the Henry Martin Institute, International Center for Research, interfaith Relations and Reconciliation. Beside our daily Eucharist, every day the program began with interfaith prayer service conducted by our brothers and sisters of other faith. It was indeed an enriching experience to come together and pray to one God in Vedic, Islamic and Sikh faith traditions. Our spirits elevated and hearts were raised to praise God as we sat together under one roof.
More than one hundred Muslim scholars and intellectuals from over 120 countries, along with leaders from diverse religious groups and nationalities, recently gathered in Marrakesh, Morocco to mark the 1400th Anniversary of the Charter of Medina, a constitutional contract which Muslims believe Muhammad had made with the people of Medina to guarantee religious liberty of all people of that city.
John Dayal is a journalist, documentary filmmaker, researcher and social activist. He is a Member of the National Integration Council of the Government of India, the National Monitoring Committee for Minority education, and has chaired major colleges in Delhi. He is a former Treasurer of the Editors Guild of India, National president of the All India Catholic Union, founder general secretary of the All India Christian Council, and is Spokesman of the United Christian Forum. He speaks to Victor Edwin SJ for Jivan]
John, you are being threatened on line. Who are these people and what is the reason?
John: I have filed a complaint with the Delhi police on this issue and the matter is under investigation by experts in cyber crime. But by the nature of the threats, it is clear that they come from people who identify themselves with the ideology of the Sangh Parivar. They may, or may not, be formal members of any of the connected organizations, but their thought process is clear.
Sometime ago I received a email message from a friend in which he noted that the Holy Father Francis is with many Christians, who get carried away by statements such as there is no scope in Islam for terrorism or tyranny, and believes that “Islam is a peaceful religion”. My friend qouted Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis entitled: “Evangelii Gaudium” chapter IV number 253 about Dialogue with Muslims. The English version of the sentence as published on the official webpage of the Vatican is: “….for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Qur’an are opposed to every form of violence (emphasis mine).” He said that the Pope is generous but certainly reveals an inadequate understanding of Islam.
In keeping with its age-old dialogue-oriented tradition fostering interfaith harmony, Vidyajyoti College of Theology organised a talk tilled “Experience of Muslims” in its effort to enhance fruitful interactions between Muslim and Christian brethren. Held on 18th August 2015, the talk was meant for striking a lively and vibrant conversation on the topic: “The Impact of Sufism on the composite culture of India”. The Resource Person for this event was Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, a classical Islamic scholar, an English-Arabic-Urdu writer and a regular columnist with New Age Islam.
Members from the Centre for Peace and Spirituality (CPS) were invited to address first-year students at Vidyajyoti College of Theology, New Delhi on August 21, 2015. Theology students at Vidyajyoti have a course on Islam taught by Father Victor Edwin SJ. Realizing the need to interact with followers of Islam to know how they understand their faith and respond to the various situations facing them today, Father Victor invited CPS members to address students on ‘Islam and its Message to the Modern World’.
Christian scholars on Islam like Kenneth Cragg and Paul Jackson SJ has taught that we should listen to Muslims to understand Islam. I have the pleasant job of introducing Islam and Christian Muslim relations every year to a group of young Christians mostly religious men and women at the Vidyajyoti College of Theology (http://vidyajyoti.in/). Every year besides class room instructions and interactions, we invite Muslims to speak to us. This year the following program are organized the students of Christian theology at VJ, Delhi. Please keep these programs in your prayers.
Interaction with Muslim brothers and sisters
Session 1 Date 18 August 2015
Topic for discussion: The Impact of Sufism on the composite culture of India