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: http://www.cbs2iowa.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/church-dialogue-islam-24459.shtml

Among Muslims, Internet Use Goes Hand-in-Hand With More Open Views Toward Western Culture

Around the world, Muslims who use the internet are much more likely than other Muslims to have a favorable opinion of Western movies, music and television and are somewhat more likely to see similarities between Islam and Christianity, according to an analysis of a recent Pew Research Center survey.  

The survey of Muslims in 39 countries across the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa finds that a median of 18% use the internet in their home, school or workplace. However, internet use varies widely across the countries surveyed, ranging from just 2% of Muslims in Afghanistan to a majority (59%) in Kosovo.

In the 25 countries where there are enough Muslims who use the internet to permit more detailed analysis, the survey finds that internet users tend to be younger and better educated than Muslims who are not online. They also include a somewhat higher proportion of men. But statistical analysis shows that internet use is strongly associated with Muslims’ attitudes toward Western popular culture even when factors such as age, education and gender are taken into account. Holding all else equal, Muslims who use the internet are much more inclined to like Western movies, music and television, and they are somewhat less inclined to say that Western entertainment is harming morality in their country.

The survey also finds that Muslims who use the internet are somewhat more likely than those who are not online to see commonalities between their own faith and Christianity. Statistical analysis shows that internet use is associated with a more open attitude toward Christianity even when controlling for demographic factors such as age, education, gender, level of religious observance and participation in interfaith activities.

When it comes to interpretations of their own faith, however, internet use does not appear to make much difference in Muslims’ views. Regardless of whether they use the internet or not, majorities of Muslims in most countries surveyed say that there is only one true way to interpret their faith and that Islam alone leads to eternal life in heaven. Statistical analysis finds little difference between internet users and non-users on these questions.

In nearly every country where analysis is possible, Muslim internet users are more likely to say they enjoy Western movies, music and television. Differences in opinion between Muslim internet users and those who do not use the internet are particularly wide in Kyrgyzstan (where internet users are 35 percentage points more likely to have a positive view of Western entertainment), Senegal (+32), Russia (+32), Indonesia (+31), Tajikistan (+31), Bosnia-Herzegovina (+30), Azerbaijan (+30) and Tunisia (+30).

 

Patriarch Bartholomew, more ‘freedom’ to Christians in Islamic countries

“The situation of Christians in some Muslim countries is in need of major improvements to allow more freedoms ‘and chances’ similar to those that Muslims enjoy in Christian countries” said Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who is now visiting Milan during the seventeenth anniversary of the Edict of Constantine. In the keynote address delivered with the Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Angelo Scola, both focused on the need “to aim for peace between Islam and Christianity,” abandoning the agonizing wounds of the past.

Ben Kader, a Nebulous and Painful Identity

22 August 2010
The Editions de l’Aire will soon be publishing a French translation of Zurich author Daniel Groetsch’s novel Ben Kader. The novel shifts between Algiers in 1957 and Zurich in 2001, and explores the contrasts between father and son, adopted and assumed identities, Eastern and Western cultures, Islam and Christianity.
Ben Kader himself is believed to be Arab during the Algerian War of Independence; however, he is in reality descended from an immigrant Armenian family. His son in today’s Zurich is derided by a travel agent as “not a real Swiss… he didn’t really feel like he had the same culture as us, he was lacking something like an identity.” A book that juxtaposes two characters and two worlds with one question: who am I?

BBC supports Islam and attacks Christianity, says ex-presenter

Don Maclean, who hosted Good Morning Sunday for 16 years, claimed that the corporation is biased against Christianity and had embarked on a movement to “secularise the country”. “They’re keen on Islam, they’re keen on programmes that attack the Christian church,” he said and added that programming chiefs were keen to take a “negative angle at every opportunity” in a way they do not with other faiths like Islam.

This comes after the BBC has appointed Muslim broadcaster Aaqil Ahmed as BBC’s head of religious programmes. He is the first Muslim and only the second non-Christian in this role, and the decision was criticised by church officials, who complain that “Christians are now only depicted as ‘freak shows'”. The BBC has defended the decision saying that Mr Ahmed was “the best candidate for this new role” and that it is “BBC policy to recruit on the basis of experience and suitability to the post, not on the basis of faith or any other criteria”.

Islam, Islamisms, and the West

Identity politics in the widest sense is now quite the norm, and it comes to us in many guises, in the actual conduct of politics as well as in political theories and analyses, from the right, the left, the liberal centre. Culturalism, or the view that culture is the primary and determining instance of social existence, is a by-product of this identitarianism, and wherever politics and religion come to inflame each other, religion itself becomes synonymous with culture, and culture with religion, so that, for example, a constitutive difference between Islam and Christianity, as regards the scope for egalitarian politics in their respective zones, can be posited from the left, while the most hard-nosed geopolitical prescriptions can come to us from the right, in the guise of a discourse on religion, culture and civilization.