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Sikh News Faith symposium promotes peace

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by Sikh News Reporter, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. Sikh News Reporter

    Sikh News Reporter United States
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    At an interfaith gathering organized by a Muslim community, held inside a Hindu temple, a Christian reverend turned and posed a question to a rabbi sandwiched between a Buddhist philosopher and a local Sikh leader. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism -- swapped philosophies, anecdotes and thoughts on how to eradicate friction between people of different beliefs. The ...

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    ALBANY -- At an interfaith gathering organized by a Muslim community, held inside a Hindu temple, a Christian reverend turned and posed a question to a rabbi sandwiched between a Buddhist philosopher and a local Sikh leader.

    "What do you think is the most powerful way to achieve world peace?" the Rev. Elanor Stanton said.
    "Through relationships, not through politics," Rabbi Yaakov Kellman replied. "If we don't have relationships, we do not look at one another."

    The theme of Sunday's symposium at the Hindu Temple Society of the Capital District on Albany Shaker Road was a "pursuit of peace and world harmony." Leaders from six faiths -- Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism -- swapped philosophies, anecdotes and thoughts on how to eradicate friction between people of different beliefs.

    "Harmony is not achieved when everybody is singing the same note," Kellman said. "It is the combination of many different notes."

    The event was spearheaded by Muslims for Peace, a pro-American Muslim advocacy group that condemns terrorism and promotes a positive image of the Islamic community. "People picture Muslims with a Quran in one hand and a sword in the other," Naseem Mahdi, vice president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, said. "They ask people if they would feel comfortable having a Muslim as a neighbor; most of them say no."

    The Ahmadiyya community, founded in 1889, stresses the acceptance of all religions.

    Mahdi, born in Pakistan, travels around the country urging religious leaders to work together, denouncing clerics who urge violent retaliation against the United States and others. "The ones that say the 9/11 attacks on the United States were done in the name of Allah, they are not Muslims. That is not Islam," Mahdi said.

    The Albany chapter of the Ahmadiyya community has started a bus ad campaign, running banners on CDTA buses that promote its nationwide effort to denounce extremism and terrorism.

    Mahdi, who lives in Washington, D.C., says he has been playing close attention to the historic protests in Egypt and Tunisia, which, while not religiously motivated, are in countries where Islam is the predominant faith. Although he sympathizes with the plight of the young protestors - "They cannot get jobs, even the well-educated," he says -- Mahdi is concerned about the consequences, especially in Egypt.
    Mahdi says he is weary of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic movement founded in Egypt which he fears may come into power if Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak steps down. Mahdi says the group is too extreme and would not provide a lifestyle any more favorable than that of Mubarak's autocratic reign.

    "They would go from one extreme to the other," he said. "I am praying for them, praying that they can come to peace."

    Bryan Fitzgerald, a local freelance writer, is a frequent contributor to the Times Union. Reach him at 454-5452 or bfitzgerald@timesunion.com.
     
    #1 Sikh News Reporter, Jan 31, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2011
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