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Archive for the ‘common ground news service’ tag

Embracing a Greener Ramadan

Photography Credit to Google Images.by Ryan Strom
from Common Ground News Service

The holiest month of the Islamic year, Ramadan, began last Friday, 20 July.  This Ramadan, many Muslims are looking at a new dimension of the month: our impact on the earth.  This is particularly important as we learn more about the effects of climate change, dwindling resources and, most importantly, decreasing access to fresh water around the world, which is a growing concern in many Muslim communities and countries.

Muslims believe that God has asked them to abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan.  In addition to fasting, Muslims around the world aspire to attain spiritual contentment and come closer to God through increased prayer, meditation, helping others and self-reflection.  While fasting is the most well known aspect of the month, it is also a time to be more aware of the universal principles of mercy, compassion and respect for the Earth that our faith teaches.

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August 1st, 2012 at 10:55 am

Reevaluating Interfaith Dialogue

Image Credit to Three Faiths Forum, http://www.threefaithsforum.org.uk.

by Steven Shashoua
from Common Ground News Service

London – Girls in headscarves is not exactly what you would expect to see walking through the doors of a Catholic school in London. Yet for young people living in London today interfaith encounters are not as rare as they used to be.

While opportunities to meet people from other cultures are increasingly common, meaningful learning doesn’t always follow and they don’t necessarily bring about positive shifts in attitudes and real social change.

Over the past 15 years at the London-based Three Faiths Forum (3FF), we have developed models for creating understanding between people of different faiths and beliefs, with a particular focus on students and young people. For the last three years we have been creating links between different faith schools – some 50 in total – through our Faith School Linking programme.

At a school linking event, two or three classes from different faith schools will meet in the morning. Participating students divide into small groups and begin a task, like creating an art project, or sharing a story. They look at each other with some curiosity and hesitation at first, as they meet people very different from themselves.

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Latin America: the Next Frontier in Muslim-Jewish Relations

Prominent Muslims and Jewish leaders from Latin America. Photo from the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding's website

by Walter Ruby
from Common Ground News Service

Washington, DC – Until recently, the Muslim and Jewish communities of Latin America had been largely untouched by the burgeoning movement of the past five years to strengthen communication and cooperation between Jewish and Muslim leaders and grassroots activists in North America and Europe. That isolation is now coming to an end.

Jews and Muslims have a long history in Latin America. There is evidence that Jews and Muslims escaping the Inquisition accompanied Spanish and Portuguese explorers on their voyages of discovery to the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries. Both communities grew in the late 19th and early 20th centuries due to the large-scale immigration of Jews from Eastern Europe and Muslims from Arab countries.

Jewish and Muslim businesspeople have long been sparkplugs of the economies of Brazil and Argentina and to a lesser extent, Uruguay, Chile and other Latin American countries, and have often maintained cooperative business and personal relationships with each other.

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International Religion Reporting Gets a Boost

by Ruth Eglash
from Common Ground News Service

Reporting from Jerusalem–It’s an issue that affects people’s lives across the world everyday yet most media institutions do not dedicate much time, resources or manpower to covering religion.

That was the assessment of some 25 journalists from six continents and 23 countries who gathered last month in Bellagio, Italy to lay down the foundations of an international association aimed not only at boosting the prominence and professionalism of religion reporting but also to emphasise the need for responsible journalism that can unite instead of divide people.

Despite some of the obvious differences – linguistic, nationalistic, religious and political – between those that gathered in Italy from 20-24 March, the International Association of Religion Journalists (IARJ) was officially launched.

“We are living in a global society and our understanding internationally of religion is weak. With this association, journalists now have contacts in various countries and can work together”, commented US journalist David Briggs, a Pulitzer Prize nominee and the main driving force behind the initiative.

Briggs, who was elected as the association’s Executive Director during the meeting’s closing session, has been trying for the better part of the last eight years to establish a global association similar to the Religion Newswriters Association in the United States, which aims to promote high-quality media coverage of religion.

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