Conference on Interreligious Dialogue and Human Rights
On June 3rd we co-sponsered the Interreligious Dialogue and Human Rights conference which consisted of 3 Panel Discussions all day long beginning at 2:00 pm continuing until 7:30 pm.
Since the conference will fall during the Islamic month of Ramadan, immediately after the conference, from 7:45-9:30 pm, we also hosted one of our special Interfaith Iftar Dinners to celebrate with the wonderful Interfaith community in Atlanta. Ramadan, which will begin on May 27th this year, is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, a time when Muslims focus intently on prayer, closeness to God, self-examination, and charity. Muslims believe that God first revealed verses of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad during Ramadan. Fasting during the month begins at sunrise each day and lasts until sunset. Iftars are the meals that break the fast are very special and feature special dishes and desserts.
Panel 1: What is Interreligious Dialogue? Why is it essential to develop the skill of dialogue centered in a shared belief about human rights?
A belief that basic human rights are foundational to all interreligious dialogue underlies this conversation. Interreligious dialogue embraces a universal empathic understanding of the other that offers a shared religious belief in compassion and respect for individual differences. These are key factors in creating constructive collaborations. "Dialogue" in this sense is used to engender understanding, teamwork, and tolerance. This panel will share examples of effective methods that promote a dialogue that is deeply embedded in our shared belief in human rights.
Moderator: Rev. Diane Dougherty
Gerry Grudzen/ Marita Grudsen –FCM and Co-Founders of Paths to Peace Kenya
Fairal Halim- panelist and member of the Islamic Speaker’s Bureau
Roberta Malavenda- CDF Action Jewish tradition
Panel II: What Religious Leaders (rabbis, imams, ministers) can learn from the Hizmet or “Service” Movement Set the stage….
The Hizmet or service movement takes its inspiration from a Turkish writer and preacher, Fethullah Gülen. This movement is entirely non-violent, a-political, and underscores the value of “soft power” to actively engage in bringing about peace. Examples will be shares that highlight how non-violent resistance, interreligious dialogue, simple living to save the environment have been effective as well as using the religious collective virtues of hospitality, love, and hope to unite the local and global communities in which we live.
Moderator: Nwandi Lawson- Bahá’i Community
Richard Penaskovic Interfaith author -Federation of Christian Ministry
John Tures- Professor LaGrange College
Kemal Korucu Atlantic Institute
Panel III. Affirming our Solidarity at the time of unjust treatment: Human Rights-How to Move Forward. WHAT we can we do locally and globally next as an interreligious community)?
Panel Three will give suggestions how members of the world religions and secular persons can bridge their differences by 1) respecting human rights as inviolable; 2) engaging in dialogue in an open and tolerant way;
3) thus using "soft power" to bring about world peace in an infinitely small way.
Moderator: Marita Grudzen-Federation of Christian Ministry
John Raymaker - Author Federation of Christian Ministry
Adelina Nicholls - activist Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights- glahr.org