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Parliament Chair Abdul Malik Mujahid, Former V.P. Al Gore, and National Spiritual Leaders to Conclude Religions for the Earth Conference at Multi-Faith Service in NYC

On Sunday, September 21, Parliament Chair Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid will be speaking at the Religions for the Earth Multifaith Service at New York City’s Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine.

Mujahid’s view that “faith leaders must all join hands to save the only planet we have” will come to life at the service featuring a prestigious group of leaders in the religious, spiritual, and Earth-spiritual communities presented in collaboration with Former-Vice President of the United States Al Gore, who is also slated to speak.

Speakers and attendees will be enveloped in celebratory acts of music, performance and ritual all building toward a massive pledge of spiritual communities honoring the sacred environment in real, practical actions.

As a co-sponsor of the Religions for the Earth conference, the Parliament will be connecting with a strategic assembly of 200 other leaders in interfaith, religious, faith and spiritual organizations. Union Theological Seminary is hosting the conference as part of events kicking off NY Climate Week in advance of the United Nations Climate Summit.

Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Parliament Chair

In Mujahid’s view, the growing commitments faith communities are making to advance environmental protections will see more promising results by applying the influence leaders can have in multiple ways.

Mujahid says, “As more than 40 percent of America listens to pulpits every week, we must not only preach the gospel of sharing more and consuming less. But also, we must do our best to influence the guiding institutions to become more serious in urgently developing the relevant public policies. Better public policies and better consumer behavior both are needed. And this will be a major theme in the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions.”

Religions for the Earth Conference attendees will also participate in the biggest climate march in history, The People’s Climate March, expected to unite over 100,000 environmental stewards organizing from across all social institutions on Sunday, September 21. Faith and interfaith representation at the march will climb into the multiple thousands.

Peace activism in general will reach a global high on September 21, which is the United Nations official observance of International Day of Peace, coinciding with satellite climate events taking place all over the world.

The evening Religions for the Earth Multi-Faith Service is open to the public, featuring speakers including:

  • Uncle Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, Founder – IceWisdom International, Eskimo, Kalaallit Elder
  • Chief Arvol Looking Horse, Lakota Sioux 19th Generation Keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle
  • Rabbi Ellen Bernstein, Founder – Shomrei Adamah, Keepers of the Earth
  • Ms. Dekila Chungyalpa, Environmental Advisor to His Holiness, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje
  • Father Edwin Gariguez, General Secretary – Caritas Philippines
  • Former Vice-President Al Gore, Chairman – The Climate Reality Project
  • Reverend Dr. Serene Jones, President, Union Theological Seminary
  • Reverend Dr. James Kowalski, Director – Cathedral of Saint John the Divine
  • Iriama Margaret Lokawua, Director – Indigenous Women Environmental Conservation Project
  • Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Chair – Parliament of the World’s Religions
  • Dr. Vandana Shiva, Founder – Navdanya
  • Rev. Jim Wallis, President and Founder – Sojourners
  • Terry Tempest Williams, Writer and Teacher

When: Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 6 p.m. EST

Where: The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

Social Media: Follow the Religions for the Earth conference on Facebook, Twitter, and interact using hashtag #FaithInChange

Religions for the Earth MultiFaith Service is being presented by host Union Theological Seminary, and co-sponsored by the Parliament of the World’s Religions, GreenFaith, Interfaith Center of New York, the World Council of Churches, Religions for Peace, and the Cathedral Saint John the Divine.

THE 2015 PARLIAMENT OF THE WORLD’S RELIGIONS WILL BE IN SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH IN OCTOBER 2015

THE 2015 PARLIAMENT WILL BE IN SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH IN OCTOBER 2015

Salt Lake City, USA – Sept 9, 2014 – The Parliament of the World’s Religions announced today that it will bring the world’s largest and most historic interfaith gathering to Salt Lake City in October 2015, marking its return to the United States for the first time in 22 years.

What: 10,000 attendees from 80 countries and 50 religious and spiritual traditions

When: October 15 – 19, 2015

Where: Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

“The Parliament is the largest summit of interfaith activists around the globe which provides listening, learning and sharing opportunities,” says Imam Malik Mujahid, Chair of the Parliament Board of Trustees.

Imam Mujahid further stated that, “at this juncture in human history when hate, fear and anger is rising in America and across the globe, It is important that faith communities, rise with a loving, caring relationships, even if we do not agree on some issues.”

Global Interfaith Leaders Joined Us in Sharing Today’s Momentous News

Dr. Arun Gandhi, Grandson of Mohandas Gandhi and Parliament Trustee

Recalling the vision of his grandfather said, “’A friendly study,’ Gandhi believed,’ of all the scriptures is the sacred duty of every individual.’ He made the friendly study and found that none of the religions of the world had the whole Truth. The Truth can only be realized when one has an open mind and a willingness to learn from all different religions the bits of Truth they have. This essentially is what the Parliament is encouraging on a mass scale.”

 

Creating Compassion with the Parliament 

Andrew Himes, Executive Director of the Charter for Compassion

In his comments today, Andrew Himes, Executive Director of the Charter for Compassion, highlights that “The Charter for Compassion, a vision of Karen Armstrong when she accepted the TED Prize in 2008, has today inspired a global compassion movement aimed at focusing the world’s attention on how to bring the principle of the Golden Rule to life in concrete, practical, measurable ways in our communities, institutions, and relationships worldwide. A central thought motivating the Charter from the beginning was that communities of faith can play a significant leadership role in creating a thriving, sustainable, peaceful world. Today, we join with our friends and partners in the Parliament of the World’s Religions in calling for a gathering of people from many different religions to declare that compassion is at the center of our common dream for a world of peace and justice.”

Connecting Our Interfaith Communities

Chair of the North American Region of the United Religions Initiative Sande Hart

Chair of the North American Region of the United Religions Initiative Sande Hart says her experiences serving as an Ambassador to the Melbourne Parliament were invigorating to her leadership in multiple peace initiatives. Envisioning the 2015 Parliament summit today, Hart drew upon the shared values linking those across the interfaith communities, stating, “Today more than ever, it is critical that we know one another and come together, united shoulder to shoulder to heal all that threatens justice, our homes, our communities, our countries, Earth and all living beings.”

A Warm Welcoming from Salt Lake City 

Scott Beck, President and CEO of Visit Salt Lake 

The opportunity to host the world’s faiths in Salt Lake is a prospect Scott Beck, President and CEO of Visit Salt Lake, says he is glad to support. “The world is no stranger to Salt Lake, and we are no stranger to the world. Salt Lake has hosted various international gatherings, including the 2002 Olympic Games and Rotary International. We are excited to again welcome a national and international audience to experience what Salt Lake has to offer, both physically and spiritually,” said Beck.

“Here, Parliament attendees will find a welcoming and religiously diverse community. And they may just feel a little bit at home as they explore a region where more than 100 languages are spoken in our schools and businesses.”

Previous Parliament guests have included the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Jimmy Carter, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Queen Noor of Jordan, Dr. Jane Goodall, Dr. Karen Armstrong, Swami Vivekananda, Rabbi David Saperstein, Dr. Hans Kung, Deepak Chopra, and Amma the Hugging Saint.

Learn more about the 2015 Parliament here.

Register Now for Super Saver Rates with 60 Percent Savings for all and 70 Percent Savings for Students!

 

Tuesday Press Conference Will Announce the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions

PRESS CONFERENCE TO ANNOUNCE
THE 2015 PARLIAMENT


On September 9, 2014, the leaders of the interfaith movement will hold a press conference to announce the dates and the location of the 2015 Parliament.

Top leaders of the Parliament, URI, Charter for Compassion and the Grandson of Gandhi will address the press conference.

As the hate, anger, and fear is rising in the USA, the interfaith movement with its loving compassionate relationship must rise to the occasion.

Here are the names of the Parliament leaders and some of our cherished partners who will deliver this momentous news: 

  • Parliament Chair Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid
  • Parliament Executive Director Dr. Mary Nelson
  • Grandson of Gandhi, Arun Gandhi, a Parliament Trustee
  • Executive Director of the Charter for Compassion Andrew Himes
  • United Religions Initiative Chair North America Sande Hart

You Can Register Tuesday September 9 for the Next Parliament

As soon as the press conference has taken place, we will send out an announcement of the dates and the location and the registration will begin immediately.

803 Interfaith Activists Have Voted For the Next Parliament

803 people have submitted their ideas and opinions about the next Parliament. They have told us how much in registration fees they prefer, which speakers they would like to hear from and have suggested how to engage young adults in the interfaith movement. We have read them and are implementing much of their advice.

If you have not responded to this survey yet, it still time to do so. Tuesday will be too late. 

Click Here To Submit Your Opinion

It only takes a few minutes!

ABOUT THE 2015 PARLIAMENT PRESS CONFERENCE SPEAKERS

The Tech Wiz Wiring Compassion Across the World, Andrew Himes 

Mr Himes is the executive director of the Charter for Compassion, launched in 2008 by TED.com and Karen Armstrong, with the mission of supporting the emergence of a global compassion movement. He is the author of The Sword of the Lord: The Roots of Fundamentalism in an American Family.  He was born into a leading fundamentalist family of the 20th century and went on to organize for social justice and civil rights in Alabama in the 1970s. As a technology pioneer, Himes was the founding editor of the first tech-journal at Macintosh, lead the team developing the world’s first website at Microsoft, and became its first internet publishing director.

Connect with the Charter for Compassion

The Woman Waging Peace, URI North America Chair, Sande Hart

Sande Hart is the Chair for the North America Region of the United Religions Initiative, Head Coach of The Compassion Games International, Chief Compassion Officer of Compassionate California, President of the women’s interfaith community building organization S.A.R.A.H. (Spiritual And Religious Alliance for Hope) and Co-Founder of I Am Jerusalem/ Board Member of The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics and serves on Boards a number of interfaith organizations and the UN NGO Cities Peace Team to promote International Day of Peace. Sande is the author of Make A Difference 101, Community Service; A Practical Step-by-Step Guide for Kids and workshop facilitator.

The Parliament Leader and Community Builder Dr. Mary Nelson

Dr. Mary Nelson is the Executive Director of the Parliament. She retired after 30 years as President of Bethel New Life, Inc. a nationally recognized community development corporation on the west side of Chicago. Nelson is the creator of an asset-based model of community development taught nationally and internationally in communities, universities and seminaries on asset-based community. She serves on a number of Boards and Commissions and is the most recent past Chair of the Board of Sojourners, a national faith, policy and advocacy organization.

About The Chair of the 2015 Parliament

Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid

Imam Mujahid was thrice selected as one the 500 most influential Muslims in the world in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Imam Mujahid is president of Sound Vision Foundation, which produces Radio Islam, America’s only daily Muslim call-in talk show. Imam Mujahid has written extensively on religion, public policy and applied aspects of Islamic living. As the national coordinator of the Bosnia Task Force, USA, he successfully led efforts to declare rape as a war crime.

The Grandson Carrying Gandhi’s Legacy Forward, Dr. Arun Gandhi

The 5th Grandson of Mohandas Gandhi, Arun Gandhi was born in Durban South Africa. Dr. Gandhi was sent by his parents to India when he was 12 years old so that he could live with and learn from his grandfather. It was there he learned the principles of non-violence that he continues to espouse today. Dr. Gandhi spent much of his adult life in India inspiring massive social and economic changes for oppressed families and children.After coming to the United States in 1987, he started the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence in 1991 and in 2008 Dr. Gandhi started the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute, with its mission to build basic education schools for the very poor children of the world. Dr. Gandhi has taken the message of nonviolence and peace-making to hundreds of thousands of high school and university students throughout the United States and much of the Western world, and has authored several books. 

Connect with Gandhi Worldwide
Education Institute

Parliament Leaders Address Cities Interested to Host 2017 Parliament Event

Twenty international cities hailing from interfaith, municipal, and tourism institutions gathered to learn about the bidding process to host the 2017 Parliament on a webinar held July 10. Parliament Chair Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid and Executive Director Dr. Mary Nelson addressed the group on the history of the Parliament, the growth of the Interfaith movement, what happens at a Parliament, and the logistics of building a local organizing team.

10,000 activists from around the world come to share their faith at the Parliament. Mujahid explained why this is an attractive prospect for cities wishing to increase social cohesion and global tourism. It was also noted in the presentation that Nobel Laureates, Bill Gates, Tony Blair, Pope Francis and more leaders are now publicly vocalizing strong support for the interfaith movement. Endorsements from leaders as such represent a growing interdependence between secular and religious institutions in social, governmental, and humanitarian endeavor.

While presenting a multi-million dollar international gathering is a large undertaking, Dr. Nelson shared ways that corporate and faith-based sponsorships combine with civic partnerships to creatively and financially bring the Parliament to life.

An overwhelming response, half from U.S. cities as well as half from first world and developing countries indicates the demand for interfaith is growing universally. Representatives shared their desire to become a Parliament city in efforts to diminish local tensions and build harmonious relationships.

A question and answer session with Dr. Nelson and Imam Mujahid also provided attendees the opportunity to engage both Parliament leaders on ways to submit an optimal bid. Cities are currently sharing letters of intent to submit full bids for the 2017 Parliament.

For more information on becoming a Parliament city, please contact Office Manager Stephen Avino at stephen@parliamentofreligions.org

Imam Mujahid Congratulates Rabbi Saperstein

Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, preaches at a Washington, D.C., service in 2002. He says the Ten Commandments continue to be featured artistically in synagogues. Photo courtesy of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

The Parliament of the World’s Religions Board Chair Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid extends congratulations to Rabbi David Saperstein on his nomination by President Obama to lead the United States Department of State Office of International Religious Freedom. Saperstein who serves as Director and Counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism would become the first non-Christian to take the office now vacant for nine months.

Board Chair Mujahid welcomes the unprecedented move of the Obama Administration to advance a Jewish Rabbi to lead the office first established by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

Mujahid’s congratulatory letter highlights Saperstein’s “admirable record of touching humanity through faith-based justice,” and commends his expert leadership as an example of how progress can be achieved through engaging the guiding institutions.

In addressing the interfaith movement at the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia, Saperstein hosted an engagement session entitled “The State and Religious Freedom,” and was featured prolifically on panels including:

  • Poverty Must No Longer Be With Us with Huruhisa Handa, Jim Wallis, Katherine Marshall, Dr. A T Ariyaratne, Tim Costello, Sulak Sivaraksa and Sr. Joan Chittister
  • Democracy and Diversity in Global Perspective with Anwar Ibrahim, Pal Ahluwalia, Bishop Peter Elliott, Dr. M Din Syamsuddin, and Dr. Barabara McGraw
  • The Role of Religion and Spirituality in the Public Discourse with Archbishop Philip Freier

Designated in Newsweek’s 2009 list as the most influential rabbi in the country and described in a Washington Post profile as “the quintessential religious lobbyist on Capitol Hill,” Rabbi David Saperstein represents the national Reform Jewish Movement to Congress and the Administration as the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. The Center not only advocates on a broad range of social justice issues but provides extensive legislative and programmatic materials to synagogues nationwide, and coordinates social action education programs that train nearly 3,000 Jewish adults, youth, rabbinic and lay leaders each year.

Read more about Rabbi David Saperstein.

 

 

 

Morehouse Inducts Parliament Board into MLK Jr. Chapel Hall of Fame (PHOTOS)

The Board of Trustees of the Parliament are building new plans after meeting in the historic library of Morehouse College’s Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel during the soul-stirring 29th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. College of Ministers and Laity over April 2 and 3.

Surprise visitor Dr. Karen Armstrong stepped into the meeting and encouraged the Board to embrace an “uncomfortable” sense of Compassion – helping to frame the real, urgent, and measurable priorities at hand. Exciting happenings continued as Morehouse inducted the Board to the College’s Board of Preachers, Sponsors, and Colloquium of Scholars in a formal ceremony.

Dr. Karen Armstrong was keynote speaker and honoree of the prestigious Gandhi, King, Ikeda Community Builders Award, at the evening Interfaith “Celebration of Compassion” featuring presenters Chapel Dean Lawrence Carter (Parliament Trustee Emeritus), Martin Luther King III, a representative of the Gandhi family, and the special representative of Dr. Ikeda.

Celebrating the “glocal” Compassion movement turns the spotlight toward Chair Emeritus of the Parliament, Rev. Bob Thompson, who spearheaded the Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta to recruit the Atlanta City Council to adopt a Compassionate City resolution. Thompson’s working approach to organizing grew out of the simple sentiment, “If you want to change a community, you have to change the conversation.”

The Parliament will build upon Atlanta’s achievements (thanks to Rev. Thompson) thrusting the Faiths Against Hate campaign into a new realm of possibility as the Parliament sustains its partnership with Compassionate Atlanta and the wider movement.

Seizing the moment, Parliament Chair Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid co-conspiring with Charter for Compassion’s Executive Director Andrew Himes penned a joint agreement to strategically partner. The joint statement pledges to support action advancing the compassionate cities movement and was ceremoniously signed by Dr. Armstrong and Imam Mujahid in a conference reception.

The uncomfortable (and imperative) programming to be planned will keep the Board busy until its next retreat, but revitalized in its commitment to keep the Golden Rule central to the mission of the Parliament’s: a just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

Deepest appreciation to the Morehouse Martin Luther King Jr. Community and the Parliament’s partners in compassionate action worldwide is shared with all.

See all the photos of the Parliament Board in Atlanta. 

The Charter for Compassion and Parliament Sign Strategic Partnership (VIDEO)

The Parliament of the World’s Religions and the Charter for Compassion announce their strategic partnering for collaboratively supporting the Compassionate Cities movement around the world. Charter founder Dr. Karen Armstrong Parliament Chair Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid signed the strategic partnership announcement April 3 in Atlanta, affirming:

Dr. Karen Armstrong, Author and Founder of the Charter for Compassion shakes hands with Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid to affirm a strategic partnership aiming to mutually support the Compassionate Cities movement worldwide.
Photo by Morehouse College, April 3, 2014, Atlanta, GA, USA

The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions and Charter for Compassion International today announce our strategic partnership aimed at supporting the emergence of the Compassionate Cities movement worldwide.

This Compassionate Cities movement is deeply aligned with the principles of the Parliament. The International Campaign for Compassionate Cities aims to affirm the principle of compassion in the behavior of hundreds of millions of people in thousands of communities around the globe. We believe compassion is a practical, measurable standard we can apply to specific outcomes, including the alleviation of poverty, hunger, and disease, the protection of human rights, the extension of democracy, the creation of a peaceful world, and dealing with the challenges of global climate change.

The Parliament of the World’s Religions is the mother of the global interfaith movement. Its mission is to achieve a peaceful, just and sustainable world, and at the heart of that mission is the convening of the world’s largest interfaith gathering, each time in a different host city.

The first Parliament was held in 1893 in Chicago and brought Hinduism, Buddhism, the Jains, Sikhs, and other Eastern faiths to the United States.

Council of the Parliament will encourage Ambassadors of the Parliament as well as its members and affiliates around the world to join the Compassionate Cities Initiative and to engage their local communities with the movement. The Charter for Compassion will highlight the Parliament’s efforts to bring the principles of the Charter to life in projects and programs in every community.

Signed April 3, 2014 by Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid , Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Parliament, and  Dr. Karen Armstrong, Founder, Charter for Compassion International and the author of the Charter for Compassion.

 

A Reflection on Nelson Mandela from Imam Mujahid, Parliament Chair of the Board

We all knew of Nelson Mandela’s state and his age. Yet, his death is still a tremendous loss to all of us who learned to struggle against all odds from the man who put his trust in the humanity of his oppressors, the leaders of South Africa’s apartheid system. He wrote a new chapter on the power of dialogue which he, a helpless prisoner, initiated with his powerful captors. And he did all of this without losing his dignity, without compromising his principles, and without being intimidated by the power of the apartheid regime.

Imam Dr. Abdul Malik Mujahid, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Parliament of the World’s Religions

It was because of the power of his non-violent struggle, as well as his compassion toward those who took almost all of his youth from him, that I went to South Africa, despite all odds, to attend the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1999. It was my way of celebrating the power of peaceful struggle. Mandela may not be big on religion, but he sure was high on the ideals of humanity. That is where I made my personal commitment to the interfaith movement, which believes in and promotes the power of dialogue and human relationships.

I had the honor of meeting one of Nelson Mandela’s “comrades”, Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada, at the Radio Islam studio in Chicago. He was among those imprisoned at Robben Island along with Mandela. It was after talking with him that I learned how Mandela transformed the life of this young rebel into positive energy for change. 

In today’s world, where hate is rising, the people of love and humanity, those of faith and the “nones”, need to rise as a force for positive human relationships.  In a world where one-third of humanity is obese while another third sleeps hungry, let’s share more and consume less.

Let us remember together as we mourn together, that “None of you has faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself.” Long Live Madiba!

Imam Dr. Abdul Malik Mujahid

Chair of the Board of Trustees

Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions

The Power of Listening: Chairman Mujahid Featured In New Interspirituality E-Zine

Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions Chair of the Board of Trustees, Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid

Joining an esteemed group of spiritual thinkers, luminaries of religion, and Interfaith leaders, Imam Malik Mujahid is featured in the newly released e-zine, “The Coming Interspiritual Age.” This 192-page digital magazine is a complement of the recently released book of the same title by Kurt Johnson and David Robert Ord forecasting an evolutionary interspiritual movement referenced by the writings of Brother Wayne Teasdale, a former Parliament trustee.

Chairman Mujahid’s stories in Namaste Publications’ “The Coming Interspiritual Age” disclose his personal perceptions of being a co-trustee with Bro. Wayne Teasdale on an Interfaith board reacting to September 11, 2001, the relevance and future of  Interfaith, and the role of Parliament.  From there, his views on global interspirituality, mysticism, and how the “Timeless Wisdom” is steeped in us all to encounter is explored in depth.

 

E-Zine Contributors: Eckhart Tolle, Ken Wilber, David Korten, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Charles Gibbs, Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Ashok Gangadean, Mirabai Starr, Nancy Roof, Kurt Johnson, Constance Kellough, Alison van Dyk, Dena Merriam, Russill Paul, Thomas Huebl, Leo Semasko, M. Darrol Bryant, Ed Bastian, Diane Berke, Phillip Hellmich, Rupert Spira, Loch Kelly, Paul Chaffee, Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Adam Bucko,Rory McEntee, Robert Toth, Ralph Singh, Gorakh Hayashi, Matthew Cobb, Janet Quinn, Maurizio and Zaya Benazzo, Neill Walker, Tim Miner, Cassandra Vieten, Jody Lotito-Levine, Kristin Hoffmann, Kenji Williams, Weston Pew, Bruce Schuman

 

The Power of Listening, Brother Teasdale & the Parliament of World Religions

By Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid

I did not know him well. But he gave me a very important lesson in listening.

It was days after 9/11 when we were in a CPWR meeting. We were thinking about
the future. Everyone was coming up with good ideas. Interfaith people are so much
alike. Their smiles, their language, the way they carry themselves is quite similar. So
much so that I developed a level of skepticism toward the “interfaith people” as nice
people who hang out with the other nice people.

In the meeting, Brother Wayne Teasdale was quiet, listening attentively. And then
he spoke. It was the first time I heard him speak. What he had to say literally woke
everyone up from “just being nice”.

It is important, he said, that we listen to the voices which are not normally heard.
Why not invite extremists to our Parliament? Why not hear from them about their
perspectives?

His thoughts somewhat disrupted this gathering of “nice interfaith people.” There
was a detectable level of discomfort. My own discomfort was a little higher for other
reasons: suddenly everyone was looking at me. He added yes, may be our Muslim
friends can arrange for those voices to be present.

Now so many years after I am more used to people looking at me like that. At that
time I was a bit offended being looked at as though I had some sort of agency of
extremists. But as soon as the stares moved away from me, I was deeply absorbed
thinking about his wisdom and courage to say something like that so soon after 9/
11.

That was the foundation when we selected the theme for the Barcelona Parliament
of the World’s Religions as “Pathways to Peace: The Wisdom of Listening, the
Power of Commitment.”

The Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1893 was an extra-ordinary event but
an event nevertheless. The Parliament is, thankfully, no longer an event. It is a
movement. The Parliament has evolved to become a summit of extra-ordinary
human beings who are active in their cities and regions for the common good;
articulating the best of their ideals and living them in deliberate relationships with
other people of other religions and traditions. They come, they listen, they share,
they learn and go back to their homes inspired and informed to re-nourish their
communities and expand the sphere of their interfaith universe.

The Parliament program is normally divided in three broad tracks. In one track,
people listen directly to others talk about their own religion and tradition, a
powerful opportunity for banishing negative stereotypes. Another track invites
people to share about their relationships with other faith communities; and yet
another track discusses the common issues facing humanity and how religions are
working with each other to think, provide, and promote solutions.

The interfaith movement is growing by leaps and bounds. Not only people of faith
are founding and expanding this movement, but people of no faith, civil society and
government institutions are also looking to interfaith relations as a vehicle of human
development.

With that in mind, the Parliament strategic plan has included between Parliament
programs to continuously engage the interfaith community with a whole set of
learning opportunities about interfaith dialogue, organizing and engagement.

As the forces of fear, anger and hate rise, we believe that people of loving
relationship need to be stronger than ever and better equipped with the best
practices of interfaith to mediate negativity into the positive energy needed for
human societies to grow and flourish.

In the global village, a spark of anger can go beyond burning the neighborhood
down — it can create lasting harm. The Parliament might have been ahead of its time
in the past, but it is the call of our time now.

And one of the critical issues of now is the challenge of climate change — this
requires behavioral change along with good public policies. It is the people of faith
who have the most transformative impact on those who listen to them week after
week — and that is a whole lot of people around the world.

We are not about creating another faith by some odd merging of religions. We are
about harmony between people of faith for the common good.

Well. We were unable to get some extremist to the Barcelona Parliament. We did not
know them to invite them. Probably the CIA knows their way about. But they are too
busy playing drones to kill them as soon as they find their address and if not them,
their neighbors and look-alikes.

In the 2009 Melbourne Parliament, however, I did present a talk about “The Street
Theology of Anger” to articulate the extremists’ abusive distortion of Islamic
teachings. That was inspired by Brother Teasdale’s wish to listen to the difficult
voices. I was surprised to see an overflowing crowd and was happy that there were
not many loaded stares :)

Continue Reading “The Coming Interspiritual Age” for Imam Malik Mujahid’s perspectives on Global Mysticism and Spirituality.

A Letter from the Chair of the Board: Organizational Changes at CPWR

Dear Friends:

It is my difficult task as Chair of our Board of CPWR to announce that the Executive Committee of CPWR has accepted Rev. Dirk Ficca’s resignation as Executive Director of the CPWR.

We are thankful to Rev. Dirk Ficca’s contribution to the interreligious movement. I personally remember him rushing around in the Barcelona Parliament, dressed simply, organizing things, instead of dressing up and being on the stage all the time. That left an impression.

We wish Dirk the best in his future endeavors.

Dr. Mary Nelson, the Vice Chair of the Board of CPWR is going to be our Interim Executive Director. She can be reached at mnelson@parliamentofreligions.org

A few months ago we appointed a Search Committee for the new CEO.. Its members include the following leaders of the interreligious movement: Bill Lesher & Bob Thompson, both Chair Emeritus; Suzanne Morgan and Jim Doty, both members of the International Advisory Board of CPWR; and Bob Henderson and Mary Nelson, both Vice Chairs of the Board. The committee is chaired by Mary Nelson.

The Parliament has tremendous moral and social capital. We are all working on translating this moral and social capital into financial strength for the Parliament so we can be an even better partner in strengthening the interreligious movement.

This world where conflict is increasing needs the interreligious movement more than ever. The CPWR is fully committed to our mission, along with thousands of our electronic participants as members on PeaceNext; hundreds of Ambassadors around the world, members of our Task Forces, our Trustees, and Partner Cities.

Our organization’s statement of purpose reads: “The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions was created to cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world.”

We must continue to strengthen our relationships to connect humanity with a stronger interreligious bond.

One of the most encouraging examples of this positive connection and coalition-buildiing has been the outstanding success of the Muticultural Universal Dialogue which just took place from 29 August to 2 September in Guadalajara, Mexico, organized by one of our long-time partners, Fundación Carpe Diem.  CPWR was represented by Trustee Andras Arthen.

Sometimes we are simply guilty of not telling our story. Here is what will be happening in the next few weeks or so:

1) The Parliament is initiating an important organizing and education campaign, Interfaith Against Hate, generously funded by  IAC Member Suzanne Morgan

2)  The Global Listening Campaign is moving forward with five focus groups happening in Nigeria in the next two weeks, as well as several in Jakarta, Indonesia

3) 24 people have already agreed to lead focus groups across the world to think through the themes for the next Parliament

4) Our Parliament Ambassadors Advisory Group has completed a comprehensive self-survey and have pledged to conduct 80 focus groups in the next 8 weeks

5) We are convening a conference on Educating Religious Leaders for a Multi-religious World at Claremont University, sponsored by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation

6) In Chicago on Nov. 3rd there to be a major event organized by the Women Task Force of the Parliament, to which the public is invited

With your help and assistance we are bound to move forward.

Peace,

Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid

Chairperson
Board of the Trustees for
Council for a Parliament of World Religions