Archive for the ‘imam abdul malik mujahid’ tag
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.
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
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
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/
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
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.
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 email@example.com
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.
Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid
Board of the Trustees for
Council for a Parliament of World Religions
Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, the Council’s Chair of the Board of Trustees, championed interfaith collaboration as one of the greatest forces for water conservation, protection and positive consumer change. Imam Mujahid was among the speakers for the United Nations’ World Water Day Conference in Chicago, hosted by the Office of the Governor.
World Water Day has been observed on March 22nd since 1993 voted by the United Nations as “a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.” This year’s theme was “Water and Food Security: the world is thirsty because we are hungry.” Food security and water access are linked, as the UN projects that by 2025, over two-thirds of the world population could be living in conditions of water-scarcity or under water-stress. Further, 70% of the world water supply is used for food production, which is not sustainable, and climate change is a direct impact of overconsumption and ineffective consumption. Mujahid reminded his fellow religious leaders that America is indeed a religious nation, so by harnessing that collective religious responsibility, religious Americans can have a direct impact on water, food, and fuel usage. With 15% of all food in the US going to waste, Mujahid urged all present to reinforce the message “consume less, share more,” and to “share a message of hope”, in order to create a more sustainable future for water usage and food production, and to fulfill a collective responsibility as people of faith to use our given supply responsibly.
Trustee Emeritus Swami Varadananda, long-time Parliament organizer and manager of the Vivekananda Vedanta Society in Chicago, reflected on how CPWR had highlighted these issues at past Parliaments in Cape Town (1999) and Barcelona (2004), where lack of water accessibility and food insecurity in relation to sustainability were addressed.
The Dr. Robert Henderson, Vice-Chair for the Council and also an elected member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States, spoke to the group about building awareness around clean water access and food insecurity, especially with youth in religious communities. He suggested as well the importance of recording and sharing local initiatives to aid the hungry with the interfaith community at large to maintain momentum and education.
The second half of the meeting was hosted by members of Faith in Place, a Chicago-based interfaith organization that advocates “stronger congregations for a sustainable world.”
In the spirit of CPWR, this meeting brought together people of faith to discuss and work toward action around vital issues that impact people locally and globally.
by Abdul Malik Mujahid
You might have seen a government-required sign at a McDonald’s restroom telling employees to wash their hands. Muslims do this as a part of living their faith, which is called Sharia in Arabic. The Prophet Muhammad also encouraged Muslims to wash their hands before and after eating. Muslim parents raise their children on many such manners. The first chapter in almost all books on Sharia is about morals and manners of cleanliness, which Prophet Muhammad said is half of the faith. God’s peace and blessings be upon him.
When Muslims begin anything they say, “In the name of God”. That is Sharia. When they greet each other, they smile and say, “Assalamu Alaikum” (peace be with you). That is Sharia.
Similarly, when Muslims take short breaks five times a day to pray, this is another example of practicing Sharia. Prayer is normally the second chapter in almost all books about Sharia.
Sharia does not present a comprehensive list of pure foods and drinks, although it prohibits ten or twelve things and declares everything else to be Halal or lawful to consume. If Muslims cannot find Halal food, they often eat vegetarian or kosher food. This is all Sharia.
When you see a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf and a loose dress, or a Muslim man with a head covering or beard, they are likely following Sharia manners of dress.
When in a marriage sermon you hear the Quran recited about piety, loyalty to each other, and God’s advice for clear communication between spouses, that is a Sharia wedding.
Muslims often avoid taking out mortgages due to the Sharia prohibition on Riba (usury/interest). This has led to the establishment of a worldwide Islamic financial industry and Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes. The latter select companies that don’t deal in weapons, pornography, gambling, tobacco, or alcohol, etc. These investments are similar to 30 other “faith-based” investment options, like the Catholic Values Index. These are examples of the practice of Sharia in the realm of business.
All of the above are real-life examples of the totality of Sharia as practiced by the observant among the close to six million Muslims in America and the 3,000 formal Muslim congregations in America. Muslim Americans include doctors, entrepreneurs, professors, cab drivers, and the guy fixing your computer. Their service to their communities is also an example of practicing Sharia.
The Sharia That Muslim Americans Don’t Practice
There are parts of Sharia that Muslim Americans don’t implement in their daily lives.
Since Muslims ran a civilization for over a thousand years, they naturally developed a body of laws to deal with governing society. These laws deal with issues ranging from fighting neighborhood crime to international laws of war and peace.
Muslim Americans don’t practice these laws since they deal with the realm of government and state. Sharia emphasizes that the rule of law in a society must be implemented by the state. It considers vigilantism a major crime and a sin. Therefore, Sharia prohibits Muslims from practicing this part of Islam on an individual basis.
The Quran, like the Old Testament, is not limited to only the Ten Commandments, all of which except for the commandment to keep the Sabbath are to be found in parallel statements in the Quran. Like the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy), it ordains punishments for serious crimes. Unfortunately, it is this penal law that many people wrongly think is exclusively Sharia. This is incorrect.
It is true that Islamic criminal law has been at times implemented harshly, and even wrongly, by some Muslims. Such an application of Islamic criminal law is void of God’s mercy, which is considered His primary attribute in Islam. However, those nations or groups that do this do not speak for all Muslims, nor do they speak for the prophet of mercy, Prophet Muhammad, who would turn his face away when a person confessed his or her crimes. This was to give them room for repentance and forgiveness.
About five countries among the 56 Muslim nations worldwide implement Islamic criminal laws. Virtually none of them implement Sharia in its totality in all spheres of life. Their laws are a combination of local custom and precedent in that particular country, as well as remnants of laws brought by European colonial powers that ruled those countries.
The primary purpose of Sharia is to preserve life and order in society, not to incarcerate and punish. However, many in the Muslim world who are sick and tired of corruption and injustice demand that the criminal laws of Islam be implemented in their countries. Nevertheless, this is not what Muslims in America are demanding. Their practice of Sharia is limited to the personal sphere.
Unfortunately, three U.S. states have passed anti-Sharia laws, and 22 others are actively considering bills against Sharia. Some politicians are now looking to pass a federal law against Sharia. Anti-Sharia bills are a part of a well-funded campaign of fear mongering and intolerance, not unlike previous campaigns in America against Catholics and Jews.
To understand Sharia is to understand Islam. Criminalizing Sharia will criminalize the practice of Islam in America. Sharia mandates that Muslims respect the law of the land. It is also against Sharia to impose Sharia on anyone. Muslim Americans are subject to the same laws and constitution as any other American.
Sharia is in some ways similar to the Jewish Halacha law or Catholic Canon Law, with similar historic roots but far less complex. Unlike Jewish Halacha law which is practiced in Jewish American courts called Beth Din, there is no Muslim court system in the United States, nor is the Muslim community demanding this.
by Abdul Malik Mujahid
from Huffington Post
Kim suddenly started hitting his chest. I thought he had a medical emergency but before I could call the stewardess, he explained that he was just nervous after watching a video about the immigration process before landing in Chicago. Kim is a junior at a high school in South Korea and was visiting the United States for a couple of months. He was sitting next to me on an American Airlines flight from Tokyo.
Kim was not the only one subject to the bad treatment. Hundreds and thousands of people go through this every day including diplomats, businessmen and journalists. The same week, former Indian President Abdul Kalam was frisked for explosives and humiliated by airport security in New York — a violation of an established protocol. He was fully identified and this was not his first time either. A couple of years ago he went through the same problem.
Kim’s nervousness is not unfounded. Seventy percent of mostly Western European travelers also showed extreme levels of anxiety saying when traveling to the United States; they fear U.S. immigration more than terrorists or criminals. It is then no wonder that travel from Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom has actually dropped during the last ten years. These three countries along with Canada and Mexico account for about 75 percent of all travelers to the United States.
Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, chairman of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, was cited in the latest issue of “The Muslim 500: The World’s Most Influential Muslims” for his efforts to raise awareness and understanding about faith and social issues.
The widely viewed publication from the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, an independent research entity based in Amman, is a comprehensive study of global Muslim leadership in 14 categories including politics, religion, business, science, arts, media, sports, philanthropy and social issues. Imam Mujahid was included on the list for the first time. He is one of eight Americans identified as leaders in the category of Social Issues.
The report credited Imam Mujahid with a range of contributions including his work with broadcast media and his organizing efforts as the former chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and his current role as chairman of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions. Imam Mujahid, an award-winning author, is the president of Sound Vision in Chicago, which offers multimedia Islamic teaching materials. He is also the executive producer of Chicago’s Radioislam.com and the host of a daily one hour talk program on WCEV 1450 AM.
“His development of the Radio Islam nightly talk show in Chicago is not only a source of support for Muslims, but an important educational link to non-Muslims in the greater Chicago area,” according to “The Muslim 500” publication. “Mujahid speaks with eloquence not only about the destructiveness of Islamophobia but also of the need for all people to come together in a spirit of justice and peace.”
The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, based in Chicago, is an international, non-sectarian, non-profit organization, established in 1988 to host the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions. Since the historic 1893 Parliament in Chicago, modern Parliaments have been held in Chicago (1993), Cape Town (1999), Barcelona (2004) and Melbourne (2009). These periodic Parliament events are the world’s oldest and largest interreligious gatherings. The next Parliament is expected to draw more than 10,000 religious leaders, scholars, theologians, worshippers, observers and journalists to the city of Brussels in 2014.
by Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid
from Huffington Post
The first time I visited the offices of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, I noticed Apple’s Macs all over the place. “Some people are trying to change the world!” I thought to myself. Here were individuals committed to engaging otherwise warring religious groups for the common good — a revolutionary idea indeed. It was just those types of “crazies” who embraced Macintosh early on. I was one of them.
It was an Apple publicity campaign that included images of Einstein, Gandhi, Jim Henson and Muhammad Ali all stating: “Only those who are so crazy as to think they can change the world can truly change the world.”
Steve, born Abdul Lateef Jandali, was the son of Abdul Fattah John Jandali, a Syrian Muslim, and Joanne Schieble, an American Christian mother whose conservative father refused to let them get married. So Steve was given up for adoption. As a school dropout, sometimes, the only full meal he had was at a Hari Krishna langar. Later he converted to Buddhism. And many wonder why he would walk around without shoes at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA.
In the United States, where diversity is becoming as American as apple pie, Steve Jobs’ story must be inspiring to all who believe in our nation’s future and its contribution to humanity. While our country was going downhill because of wars and the economy, Apple was rising to become the number one company in the world, giving clues to America of what needs to be done to turn things around for all of us.
|Wednesday, October 12, 2011 10:00am U.S. Central Time|
In the ten years since September 11, 2001, the United States has experienced both an increase in interreligious cooperation as well as a marked escalation in hate. Religious communities are in a unique position to build bridges of understanding among communities and neighbors. This webinar will offer 10 practical ways that individuals, organizations, and congregations can respond to this challenge.
Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid is Chair of the Board of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions. He is president of Sound Vision Foundation, which runs the daily program Radio Islam, and he is former Chairperson of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago. He has written extensively on religion, public policy, and applied aspects of Islamic living. Imam Mujahid led a joint campaign between American Muslims and the National Organization of Women (NOW) to declare rape a war crime.
Title: 10 Strategies to Respond to the Rising Hate in the U. S.
Date: Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM CDT
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from NPR’s Worldview
CPWR Board Chair Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid is interviewed about 9/11’s impact on American Muslims.
In a 2003 article, he likened the situation for Muslim Americans to a “virtual internment camp.” Although he says law enforcement outreach has been strong locally, Mujahid wants to see more engagement on the national level.