Living Harmoniously in an Interfaith World, A Muslim Contribution
Frank Kaufmann, February 19, 2020
|Twelve Gates reports are informational, not self-promotional. We all bear the mission and responsibility to increase harmony in our world. Reports on Twelve Gates events and activities seek to support our readers and others in your own efforts to advance this shared ideal.
On February 4, 2020, Twelve Gates Foundation, together with The Rumi Forum, the GW Interfaith Council (at George Washington University), and the United Nations Association, National Capital Area (UNA-NCA), convened the public meeting “Living Harmoniously in an Interfaith World, A Muslim Contribution,” at the Churchill Center in the Gelman Library on the GWU campus in downtown Washington, DC.
Twelve Gates Foundation exists to pioneer next-phase interfaith activism, moving the near 50 year old, world movement past its current standstill. This development is rooted in a clear telos for the work, including tasks for activists, and a structure and organization for activities that results in genuine, measurable progress. Religions involved identify and promulgate elements from within their respective traditions that create believers who naturally live harmoniously in our present interfaith world.
Twelve Gates calls upon and provides opportunities for leaders and believers in each and all religions to take up this work in earnest, internally within their own faith communities, and by supporting one another as partners across sectarian lines.
At the February 4th meeting, participants learned of Muslim resources and activity for this work. Jaiya Lalla, President of the George Washington Interfaith Council (GWIC) welcomed guests and spoke about the importance of interfaith, in particular as a force for good in international relations. Paula Boland, executive director of the United Nations Association, National Capital Area (UNA-NCA), introduced the work of UNA and explained the interest of UN Secretary General António Guterres in peace-building, recognizing the importance of interfaith in this process.
Thomas Cromwell, a Twelve Gates board member, introduced the organization, its philosophy and approach to interfaith, drawing on his personal experience (especially during 25 years in the Middle East) to demonstrate the need for interfaith to go beyond its current level in leading the way in the creation of a world in which faith is a universal force for enduring peace, rather than a sectarian party to political and other conflicts.
Ibrahim Anli, Executive Director of the Rumi Forum in Washington D.C. introduced their activities, and introduced Dr. Y. Alp Aslandogan, the Executive Director of a sister organization, the Alliance for Shared Values. Dr. Aslandogan spoke on Muslim scriptural and historical traditions and teachings that can guide and bolster personal growth and self development in efforts to live harmoniously in an interfaith world. He also spoke on the international work of the Hizmet (Service) movement which started in Turkey, explaining how it embodies a Muslim faith of self-development and giving to others.
Video of the presentations are preserved here, and make for interesting, educational and edifying study.