“Who Speaks for Islam?,” the title of a two-part series beginning on Sunday on Link TV, is a benign case of bait and switch. The answer to the question, we’re told, is that no one speaks for Islam — it is too vast and diverse, spreading across too many countries and cultures, to have a single, authoritative voice.
As the Middle East analyst Reza Aslan puts it, Americans are looking for a “united voice of condemnation” of militant violence — a representative of the world’s Muslims who will unequivocally say the things they want to hear — but “there is no such person in Islam.” The voices that fill the void are those of the militants, simply because they’re loudest.
Related Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/24/arts/television/24islam.html
…One of the recent visitors to the museum in Houston was guest lecturer Ajmal Maiwandi, of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, which is supporting restoration projects in Afghanistan. “I think in a multicultural, multireligious society like Afghanistan,” he says, “culture is what binds people together.”
Related Article: Afghan Exhibit Brings to Texas Recently Gold, Artifactsvia Ismaili Mail
President Obama released a special video message for all those celebrating Nowruz. Translated “New Day,” Nowruz marks the arrival of spring and the beginning of the New Year for millions in Iran and other communities around the world. This year, the President wanted to send a special message to the people and government of Iran on Nowruz, acknowledging the strain in our relations over the last few decades. “But at this holiday we are reminded of the common humanity that binds us together,” he says.
After committing his administration to a future of honest and respectful diplomacy, he continues on to address Iran’s leaders directly: “You, too, have a choice. The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations. You have that right — but it comes with real responsibilities, and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization. And the measure of that greatness is not the capacity to destroy, it is your demonstrated ability to build and create.”
“Today I want to extend my very best wishes to all who are celebrating Nowruz around the world.
This holiday is both an ancient ritual and a moment of renewal, and I hope that you enjoy this special time of year with friends and family.
In particular, I would like to speak directly to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Nowruz is just one part of your great and celebrated culture. Over many centuries your art, your music, literature and innovation have made the world a better and more beautiful place.
Here in the United States our own communities have been enhanced by the contributions of Iranian Americans. We know that you are a great civilization, and your accomplishments have earned the respect of the United States and the world.
For nearly three decades relations between our nations have been strained. But at this holiday we are reminded of the common humanity that binds us together. Indeed, you will be celebrating your New Year in much the same way that we Americans mark our holidays — by gathering with friends and family, exchanging gifts and stories, and looking to the future with a renewed sense of hope.
Within these celebrations lies the promise of a new day, the promise of opportunity for our children, security for our families, progress for our communities, and peace between nations. Those are shared hopes, those are common dreams.
So in this season of new beginnings I would like to speak clearly to Iran’s leaders. We have serious differences that have grown over time. My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties among the United States, Iran and the international community. This process will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect.
You, too, have a choice. The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations. You have that right — but it comes with real responsibilities, and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization. And the measure of that greatness is not the capacity to destroy, it is your demonstrated ability to build and create.
So on the occasion of your New Year, I want you, the people and leaders of Iran, to understand the future that we seek. It’s a future with renewed exchanges among our people, and greater opportunities for partnership and commerce. It’s a future where the old divisions are overcome, where you and all of your neighbors and the wider world can live in greater security and greater peace.
I know that this won’t be reached easily. There are those who insist that we be defined by our differences. But let us remember the words that were written by the poet Saadi, so many years ago: “The children of Adam are limbs to each other, having been created of one essence.”
With the coming of a new season, we’re reminded of this precious humanity that we all share. And we can once again call upon this spirit as we seek the promise of a new beginning.
Thank you, and Eid-eh Shoma Mobarak.”
On 10 December 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act, the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.”
Video created by Human Rights Action Center
Religious pluralism goes beyond mere tolerance for diversity and requires that we build positive relationships and work with one another. It is a state in which respect one another’s religious identity, develop mutually enriching relationships with each other and work together to make this world a better place.
Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) builds mutual respect and pluralism among young people from different religious traditions by empowering, inspiring, networking, and resourcing young people, who are the leaders of this movement. IFYC provide young people and the institutions that support them with leadership training, project resources and a connection to a broader movement.
“Acts of Faith: Interfaith Leadership in a Time of Religious Crisis” is the topic of webiner conducted by Dr. Eboo Patel in which he uses a case study to share the leadership model and theory of IFYC. The presentation builds on ideas and gives practical suggestions for those interested in getting involved in interfaith work.
Use this link or the image below to download the webinar (Right-click, select “Save Target As” option)
Thanks Dr. Eboo Patel for letting us post this.