Former German Federal President promotes dialogue

July 11, 2014

Christian Wulff, former Federal President, encouraged people to enter into a dialogue with each other and particularly with Islam. He emphasized on the central role of world religions in promoting world peace. Rather than stressing differences he suggested to focus on the commonalities and, as a positive example, quoted the national soccer team of Germany. While talking about the ongoing essentialization of Islam and Muslim in Germany, he addressed the issues of tolerance and the readiness to engage in dialogue.

Church Dialogue on Islam

January 12, 2014


While world events play out around the globe, it can be hard to fully grasp the role that religion plays. One local church is helping people better understand the world around them, but not exclusively through Christianity. “Welcome to Christ Episcopal Church if you’re visiting. This is our Tour of Islam,” said Adult Formation Leader at Christ Episcopal Church Charles Crawley. Islam is one of the world’s largest religions, accounting for about 20 % of the earth’s population. But, “people are just trying to understand what it is, because we just don’t have a good basic understanding,” said Crawley.

Kirkwood Professor of Religion Dr. Peter Jauhiainen says people often narrowly define the religion. “That provides a distorted understanding of what it’s all about,” said Dr. Jauhiainen. So Christ Episcopal Church organized its Tour of Islam. The idea is to help people of all faiths have a better understanding of world events and other religions. “We, it seems to me, operate on rumors, on information from people who don’t have a complete understanding,” said Doug Anderson.

Those misconceptions can easily affect how we understand the world around us, both past and present. “The other thing I remember from ’73 is the Arab Oil Embargo. Most of us are old enough to remember 25-cent gas,” said Dr. Jauhiainen.
Organizers say knowing more about our surroundings often leads to knowing more about other people, but simple tolerance isn’t enough. “Tolerance is lower on the diversity scale if you want to speak that way. But to move to acceptance, approval and affirmation of people that are different than us,” said Crawley. “I’m more concerned about understanding broad ideas and movements and changing attitudes, that’s more important,” said Dr. Jauhiainen.
CBS Iowa:

Pope Francis Writes to Muslims, I feel like your brother

August 2, 2013

“As you all know, when the Cardinals elected me as the Bishop of Rome and Universal Pastor of the Catholic Church, I chose the name of Francis, a very famous saint, deeply loved by God and every human being, to the point of being called the ‘universal brother.’” The Pope wrote in a message “to Muslims around the world” on the occasion of “the conclusion of the month of Ramadan, chiefly devoted to fasting, prayer and almsgiving.” In the text, the Pope follows a tradition that, on this occasion, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue sends a goodwill message, accompanied by a theme offered for joint consideration. “This year, the first of my Pontificate, I decided to send this message to you, dear friends, as an expression of esteem and friendship for all Muslims, especially those who are religious leaders.”

A Dialogue with Islam but with the denunciation of fundamentalism

In a speech, Cardinal Angelo Scola commented on the image of the boundary, proposed as the theme for the tenth meeting of the Scientific Committee of the Oasis Foundation. The two days of meetings also mark the tenth anniversary of the Oasis organization, conceived by Scola; the meeting and anniversary brought together some seventy scholars, Christians and Muslims. And it is the reality of the contemporary period especially with echoes of the protests in Turkey, and with complete transition far from being accomplished in the countries following the riots of 2011 – which all confirmed the basis of the Oasis Foundation: that we are in a delicate moment of transition.

Christians and Muslims are increasingly faced with the need create two opposite poles, both of which are dangerous: that of a secularism that – in the words of the French philosopher Rémi Brague, who spoke yesterday at the meeting “persuades those to disregard the question of God.”

In this context the archbishop was asked about the issue of the construction of a possible mosque in Milan: “The right to religious freedom fails if we refuse to provide places of worship” the cardinal explained “But to apply it in practice, the authorities have the task of verifying who is in command. And the mosque must fit in context. For example, a mosque should not be built on a building that housed a church.”

New book – Islam in the West: Iraqi Shi’i Communities in Transition and Dialogue

430905_cover*Islam in the West: Iraqi Shi’i Communities in Transition and Dialogue*

By Kieran Flynn

Oxford: Peter Lang

259 pp. | ISBN 978-3-0343-0905-9 | £40.00

This book studies the historical, religious and political concerns of the Iraqi Shi‘i community as interpreted by the members of that community who now live in the United Kingdom and Ireland, following the 2003-2010 war and occupation in Iraq. It opens up a creative space to explore dialogue between Islam and the West, looking at issues such as intra-Muslim conflict, Muslim–Christian relations, the changing face of Arab Islam and the experience of Iraq in the crossfire of violence and terrorism – all themes which are currently emerging in preaching and in discussion among Iraqi Shi‘a in exile. The book’s aim is to explore possibilities for dialogue with Iraqi Shi‘i communities who wish, in the midst of political, social and religious transition, to engage with elements of Christian theology such as pastoral and liberation theology.

Contents: Shi‘i Muslim Migration and Settlement in Ireland and the UK – Shi‘i Religious Narratives in History and Ritual Memory – The Narrative of Emancipation Among Shi‘a in Iran – Narrative Shi‘i Opposition and Emancipation in Iraq – Shi‘i Political Empowerment in Iraq – Shi‘i Sermons and Narratives – Catholic Theology in Dialogue with Shi‘i Narratives.

Dialogue between Christians and Muslims is the beginning of a new “spring”

Pope Francis said these words a few days ago, which he also explained the Catholic Church will “intensify the dialogue between the different religions, first and foremost with Islam” giving new momentum to the relations between the Catholic and the Muslim worlds.

Representatives of the Arab-Muslim world have accepted the invitation with great appreciation, including the Grand Imam dell’Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayyeb, who leads Sunni Islam. The Grand Imam dell’Azhar calls for “a world full of love and cooperation to ensure common values and to end the culture of hatred and inequality.” Imam Yahya Pallavicini, vice president of COREIS (Italian Religious Communities) also agrees, who was among 138 international Muslim scholars who signed “A Common Word Between You and Us,” addressed to Christian religious communities. Imam Pallavicini points out in no uncertain terms that, today more than ever; it is important to promote an interreligious dialogue for a world united in peace.


To Muslim Intellectuals, Pope Francis represents the Opportunity for Dialogue.

The election of Pope Francis has been hailed as an invitation to dialogue from other religions. Euronews correspondent in Turkey met Cemal Usak, a Muslim intellectual, according to whom the new pope represents a new hope, “John Paul II was very open to dialogue, especially with Muslims. Pope Benedict, was, on the contrary, very closed – remember Usak – We can say that the confrontation between Muslims, Christians and other religions at the time of Benedict XVI was close to zero. For the first time we have a Jesuit Pope and this change is revolutionary. ” Islamic Conference Organization is hoping for a friendly relationship with the Catholic leadership. The Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, will also attend the inauguration of Pope, an invitation that has never happened before.

Muslim intellectual’s conference participation causes unrest amongst local politicians

17 January 2013


The announcement of the participation of Muslim intellectual Tariq Ramadan in a conference on ‘Islam and the media’ in Roubaix, Nord Pas-de- Calais, has according to a report in France 3 Nord Pas-de-Calais caused deep local controversy. Segments of the local community have criticized both, the organization Association Rencontre et Dialogue for creating, and the city hall for permitting such a debate in the city. Their criticism is in form and content directed against the conference and its renowned Muslim participant.


A UMP politician has questioned Tariq Ramadan’s understanding of Muslim acceptance in France. He denounced Ramadan’s critique of French state and societal attitudes towards Muslims and decries the rise of communalism allegedly caused by the Muslim intellectual’s rhetoric. Another opponent accused both the city hall and the organizers to tolerate and facilitate proselytisation by providing a public platform to the ideas represented by people like Ramadan.


In response to the severe criticism, the mayor of Roubaix has justified his decision as a commitment to the idea freedom of expression and plurality of opinions.

North Rhine-Westphalian Government to Copy Islam Conference on Federal State Level

The federal government of North Rhine-Westphalia is planning on initiating a political forum to intensify and improve the dialogue and cooperation with Muslims and Muslim organisations. Similar to the national “Islam Conference”, the “Dialogue Forum Islam” is meant to address important issues related to Muslims, such as their structural integration, educational opportunities, and inter-religious dialogue. Chair of the forum is going to be North Rhine-Westphalia’s integration minister Guntram Schneider.

Dialogue with Muslims


Baden Württemberg’s Integration Minister Biklay Öney (SPD) initiated a “round table Islam” to improve the dialogue with Muslims. Topics to be discussed at these meetings range from “Islam and its social perception”, “Education”, and “Basic rights” to “gender roles”. The first meeting is planned for November; then, the round table is to be held twice a year.