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Catholic - Muslim Exchange


Yvonne
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For those of you living in more metropolitan areas, this won't seem like much of a big deal. For me, living in one of the most conservative Catholic areas outside of Rome, its huge. The media around here is reflects the attitude of the region, notice how short the article is.

 

http://www.thonline.com/news/tri-state/article_a5aee89b-84be-59f1-92b0-a753635434b6.html

 

My ex-husband is Muslim and we had many open and honest conversations about our beliefs. We discovered that once we stripped away what I like to call “the fluff”, we shared much more than we differed. It was quite surprising because both of us at the time were quite traditional in our religious attitudes. What made the dialogue work was that we were respectful of each others' beliefs. It just goes to show that interfaith gatherings of any size that encourage open dialogue can only enhance our own spirituality, as I'm sure most of you will agree.

 

Since my own beliefs have evolved since then, I'm not quite so sure we would find quite as many similarities, but I know we could still enjoy the respectful exchange of ideas.

 

Your thoughts?

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Thought I would pass along a link to an interfaith initiative called "My Fellow American." The site is http://myfellowamerican.us . The goal of the project is to encourage interfaith dialogue and mutual respect towards all, including Americans who happen to be Muslim by religion. People from many different countries, regions, and religions are posting their thoughts on inclusiveness.

 

You need a pretty up to date browser and Flash player to watch the 2-minute video that's posted, but even if you can't watch the video (which I couldn't until recently) the personal stories posted there are very moving.

 

Jen

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One of the things new to me I was introduced to while attending college, through the Religious Studies dept, was just how much interfaith dialog is taking place between Christian, not just Catholic but Protestant, Reformed, and Orthodox as well, and the Islamic community. Within the Religious center building where I attended college, there were almost daily interfaith gatherings in various commons areas, participation by those of any faith welcomed, in which speakers may be Muslim, Christian, Hindi, or any other. I witnessed beautiful mutual respect and bonding through common love in exploring how much we all have in common when we stop focusing on differences.

An interesting personal relationship within my personal community is a couple, the husband is Arab, raised as a second generation American, by a Muslim family, but who himself converted to Catholicism at a very young age, and the wife, who is "casually" Baptist, raised in a staunchly fundamentalist Christian family and community, though herself not "churched" or much into relgion at all. It is the husband that handles and makes the decisions related to religion and faith with their 2 children, which he takes very seriously, and she is comfortable with leaving that to him. Interestingly, he is much more tradtionally conservative than she, and being around him, I can see how that is rooted both in his Arab/Muslim roots as well as his Catholicism.

Interesting, too, is that his conversion to Catholicism doesn't seem to have seriously damaged his relationship with his still predominantly Musliim family.

I think this is where real change is taking place in our culture, at the personal, "grass-roots" level of personal experience in the lives of people of faith, more so than even in the public efforts toward and expressions of interfaith dialog and integrated community.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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Thank you to both for your comments. I was lucky in my relations with people of other faiths - both Christian non-Catholic and outside the Christian faith. I have wonderful friends who are of the Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim faiths, as well as other religions. I think sharing my faith with them has allowed me to ask the tough questions, be a progressive, and deepen my own spirituality.

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  • 1 year later...

To my thinking Dave there will be Christians (and Muslims) who accept others interpretations of how to live morals lives, there'll be some who agree to disagree and allow others to live in peace, and then there will be some who believe their faction's laws are the only one true version of God's laws and so will put down, belittle, harass and exclude the other. I think both can definitely exist when they are in sync (e.g. both laws for morailty prohibit murder) but I think the greyer areas (and probably least important) will probably cause the most disdain (what foods to eat or not eat, how to worship, etc).

 

That said, if Christians and Muslims continue on what I think is a current trend towards acceptance and understanding, maybe we'll end up one day all working toward the same goal of peace and love shown to all.

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Dave,

 

I don't know if we have any practicing Muslims in this community yet or any who have practiced the religion. However, i would be interested in your take on "What differences there are between how Christians view adherence to laws regarding morality and how the muslims view adherence to their "Sharia" (sp?) law?"

 

Also i would be interested in hearing a little bit about yourself that you would be willing to share in the introductions area.

 

Thanks,

Joseph

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  • 2 months later...

Catholics and Muslims have more in common in some areas than RC's and other Christians. I have no issues with non radical faiths. I do remember growing up , RC were not allowed to marry non RC or even Irish Catholics. There is much squabbling on the Christian message boards among Christians, and don't even talk about interfaith esp among non RC.

 

The Muslims even have a book in the Koran all about Mary and believe Mary was like a vestal virgin visited and impregnated by the HS and had baby Jesus even tho they believe he was a profit and didn't die on the cross. So Mary is the most imp woman to them, I mean look at Fatima. Catholics use to pray 3 times a day as well, and faced the east.

Also the Muslims have prayer bead, and make a trip to the black rock, pilgrimage, they have a works type of worship same as RC.

 

I am all for interfaith, but not one faith, and it will be a sad state of affairs if the RC and Muslims got together, really together. The both have a history of violence and power abuse. In my opinion which means nil, we need to keep or individual religions and respect each others and live peaceably.

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In 1978 I worked in Tehran, Iran during their revolution. I was teaching English at the Iranian Airforce. At the time I looked like a mullah because I was a monk in India and could not cut my hair, but my friend had blue eyes and blond hair. They told us the bus couldn't give us a ride because they were afraid it would get damaged. We had to walk miles while the Iranians were burning banks and liquer stores with bond fires in the streets. The pent up emotions were being released as they broke windows with iron bars, but they recognized our human nature and along the route Muslims continuesly came up to us and said, "Don't be afraid. We are not against the American people, only the American government." They cared about our well-being.

 

Years before as a monk I was sent to Morrocco to teach yoga and meditation during Ramadam. I wore a turban and had long hair and beard. I had very little money so looked the part. Once the sirens went off because it was state religion one had to fast until the sirens went off again or could be jailed. I will never forget I was sitting on these steps thinking about the cosmic joke that was happening to me. Morroccans wanted to learn English and meet Americans and here I was looking like their arch enemy the Indian teaching yoga and meditation. A women looked outside her window and immediately sent food and water with her kids to feed me. She could have been arrested, again a Muslim helped without a thought.

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