INTERFAITH NEWS FROM 2015

A group of Kenyan Muslims travelling on a bus ambushed by Islamist gunmen protected Christian passengers by refusing to be split into groups. Read more

Timothy Radcliffe OP, Director of the Las Casas Institute, reports on the situation on the ground following a special visit to Syria with an international peace delegation. Read more

An Imam and a Dominican friar are joining together to fight against persecution of  Christians in Pakistan. Read more

Syrian priest, Fr Jacques Mourad, who spent four months as a captive of the Islamic State, says that Christian outreach to Muslims can be part of the Church's Year of Mercy. Read more

As some governments quibble over receiving Syrian refugees, people are asking “Which refugees would Jesus settle?” Read more

The Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews has marked the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate  with a Reflection on Theological Questions Pertaining to Catholic-Jewish Relations  - “The Gifts and the Calling of God are Irrevocable” (Rom 11:29). It looks back with gratitude on all that has been achieved over the last decades in the Jewish–Catholic relationship, providing at the same time a new stimulus for the future. Read more

The Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference has issued an “anniversary reflection” 50 years since the Vatican II’s Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (Nostra Aetate) acknowledging that it transformed the Church’s attitude towards believers from other religions. We are reminded that we all have a part to play in transforming relations in our multicultural, multi-religious Australian society. See the reflection

Leaders of other faiths stood in solidarity with Muslims in Australia after the tragic shooting by an Islamic extremist of Curtis Cheng in Parramatta. Fr Rod Bower of Gosford Anglican Church addressed the media calling for all members and sections of the community to remember how we are deeply connected as part of the human family. Read more

Australian Muslims have condemned the “heinous act of violence in Paris and other parts of the world.” Read more

What are the challenges for interreligious dialogue today? What can we learn from the Old Silk Road to foster dialogue? This was the topic of a recent lecture given by the Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, Msgr. Indunil Janakaratne Kodithuwakku in Milan, Italy. Read more

Islamic scholar and founder of the Hizmet civil-society movement, Fethullah Gϋlen, says  every terrorist act in the name of Islam profoundly affects all Muslims. Muslims  must confront the totalitarian ideology that animates groups such as ISIS. Read more

Fifty years after the promulgation of Nostra Aetate (“In Our Time”) which committed the Catholic Church to relations of peace with people of other religions,  Emma Baynie from Broken Bay Diocese in Sydney has marked the occasion at an international gathering in Rome. Read more  

On Thursday 15 October 2015 around 50 leaders representing Australian Christian, Muslim and Jewish faith groups met in Parliament House Canberra with 15 politicians from the Liberal, National, Labor and Greens parties on how to create a “solution C” on asylum seekers, away from the polarising “stopping the boats” and “opening the borders” rhetoric that has surrounded the debate. Read more

A high-level meeting of Christian and Muslim representatives has met to plan for the work of a  centre in Nigeria which will act as an impetus for healing and reconciliation, given the recent incidents of conflict in the country.  Read more

During his visit to the United States Pope Francis made an unscheduled stop at Philadelphia’s Saint Joseph’s University to bless a new statue –“Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time” – which commemorates the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the Vatican II Document on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions. Read more

Speaking in St Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington DC, Pope Francis sent greetings to the Jewish community, as they celebrate Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which is considered  the holiest day on the Hebrew calendar. Read more

Muslim scholars from 20 nations have collaborated to produce an important Islamic Declaration on Climate Change. It calls for concerted action to protect the earth from the ravages of climate change and also calls on world leaders to phase out greenhouse gas emissions and move to a hundred percent renewable energy as soon as possible. Read the Declaration

Young participants in a World Council of Churches (WCC) interfaith summer course representing Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions hope to make a strong contribution towards dialogue when they return to their home countries. Read more

A World Council of Churches consultation on the theme “En-Gendering Justice: Christians in Conversation with Buddhists on Religion, Gender, Sexuality and Power” explored the relationship between religion and gender from an interreligious perspective. Read Consultation Statement Read more

The important contribution to be made by faith groups was recognized at a recent landmark Global Conference on Religion and Sustainable Development held in Washington, DC. Read more

An international faith movement for gender justice was launched recently in London which emphasized the crucial role that faith can play in ending gender inequality. Read the communiqué. Read more

Al-Azhar, the most prestigious and authoritative university in the Sunni world, and the Vatican have agreed on the need to address terrorism as a global challenge despite the reluctance of those nations which are more concerned with their economic interests. Read more

ABC presenter Rachel Kohn speaks to Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Omar Abboud about their friendship with Pope Francis. Read more

This year Eid, the Muslim celebration of the end of Ramadan, occurs close to the time when Jesuits celebrate the feast of their founder, St Ignatius of Loyola.  A  student of Islam at a Jesuit university reflects on some things held in common by the two traditions. Read more

The Vatican has signed an agreement formally recognizing the “State of Palestine” and called for a two-state solution. Read more Interview with the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York and many other faith leaders in the UK have signed the  Lambeth Declaration 2015 highlighting that climate change has already hit the poorest of the world hardest and urgent action is needed now to protect future generations. The original Declaration was hosted by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and signed by faith leaders in 2009 ahead of the Climate Summit in Copenhagen.  Read more

Makassed, a Sunni philanthropic association close to Lebanon’s highest Sunni authority, has issued a statement, the ‘Beirut Declaration on Religious Freedom,’ defending human dignity and Christian freedoms. Read more

For the Islamic Month of Ramadan beginning on 18 June the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has published a Message to Muslims entitled “Christians and Muslims: Together to counter violence perpetrated in the name of religion”, and wishes Muslims a peaceful and joyful celebration.

A Muslim scholar says Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’ provides an important opportunity to expand the conversation regarding the relationship between religion and the environment. Read more

Three distinguished colleagues in Religions for Peace: Rabbi David Rosen, Cardinal John Onaiyekan and Professor Dr. Din Syamsuddin, in a letter to The Guardian, have welcomed Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato si’. Read more

The Dalai Lama led a multi-faith congregation in prayers for world peace in Brisbane Catholic Cathedral during his Australian tour where he was welcomed as a “witness to hope”.  Read more

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has welcomed the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, Professor Dr Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, to Lambeth Palace as part of a series of visits to encourage learning and dialogue between the Christian and Muslim faiths. Read more

Australian Imams in the National Imams Consultative Forum, having considered the existing theological and legal positions of prominent Muslim scholars and Islamic schools of thought, have agreed on 53 statements representing their views during meetings facilitated by the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies. Read more

Nostra Aetate, the Catholic Church’s guiding document on interfaith relations, has received praise from religious leaders at a Catholic University of America forum 50 years after its promulgation. Read more

A Muslim who offered himself as a hostage out of solidarity with a Christian friend was among the Ethiopian Christians murdered on a beach in Libya.  Read more

Committed to the dignity and freedom that is the birthright of all humankind, for the first time in history Catholic, Anglican, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and Orthodox leaders have signed a Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery on World Day for the Abolition of Slavery. See more

“Buddhists and Christians, together to counter modern slavery” is the title of the message from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue to Buddhists, to celebrate the month of Vesakh. Read more

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has joined over 30 leaders from major world religions and heads of global faith-based organizations in launching a call to action to end extreme poverty by 2030, a goal shared with the World Bank Group. Read more

Religious leaders in Sydney have launched a unique initiative for food sustainability. Read more

The Vatican has sent a message of Good Will to Jain communities throughout the world for the Feast of Mahavir Jayanti on 2 April which celebrates the anniversary of birth of Vardhaman Mahavir, the founder of Jainism. The Message is entitled Christians and Jains: together to promote care for the elderly.  Read the message

Shawki Allam, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, has condemned recent horrific acts as “a complete violation of Islamic law and norms” and says there is a need for religious leaders who understand the reality of the modern world in order to create an environment in which people can coexist. Read more

A European conference affirms inter-religious dialogue as an effective strategy  against radicalization of young people. Read more

A coalition of Catholic and Shiite Muslim leaders strongly condemns terrorist acts by radical Islamic groups like Boko Haram and the Islamic State. Read more

A group of Vancouver residents representing members of the Jewish, Muslim, First Nations, Anglican, Catholic and United Church communities have invited Pope Francis to tour the Downtown Eastside and two First Nations reserves. They believe Pope Francis could spur real change in the welfare of the city and province’s poor and homeless. Read more

Some Muslims are pledging to fast alongside their Christian neighbours this year, and they hope it will become an annual tradition. Read more

Does faith have a constructive, problem-solving role to play in 21st century society? Are there related economic and social benefits to communities that need to be protected? Are there causal links between religious freedom and economic development? The G20 Interfaith Summit held on the Gold Coast parallel with the G20 Economic Forum 2014 explored these questions. The Consensus Statement is now available.

A Catholic Archbishop and Muslim leader have joined forces to appeal for the lives of two Australians facing execution in Indonesia. Read more

In Toowoomba, people have gathered in solidarity to condemn an arson attack on a local mosque. Read more

Four French imams have joined with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in issuing a joint declaration denouncing the Paris newspaper attack  and warning that the world is a dangerous place without freedom of expression. Read more

A populist anti-Islamic movement is just as much a danger to Western values of religious tolerance, respect for human life and freedom of speech as jihadi terrorism, argues the editorial of a respected international Catholic newspaper. Read more