Saudi Arabia/USA/World: Communities of Reconciliation

Peace Catalyst International (PCI) has initiated a program called ‘Communities of Reconciliation.’  The program is aimed towards bringing together individuals of different faiths for dialogues which break down walls, create a culture for genuine friendship and open and honest dialogue, and to build bridges for peace, reconciliation, and service to the community at large.

PCI has materials and talking points which help facilitate learning and understanding among the group.  The program is not meant or intended for any type of proselytizing.

I think this is a great program for individuals anywhere in the world to organize and participate.  It’s easy to construct invisible walls when communicating in forums where we do not see each other face-to-face.  Yet when individuals actually meet and have an agenda of talking points there are usually more commonalities which arise than differences.

American Bedu challenges YOU to create your Community of Reconciliation.

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29 Responses

  1. what a good idea!

  2. Then muslims wonder why non-muslims don’t like them. This is what many non-mulsims see as muslims. You should know that these are people who are your representatives in the west.

    So the question is, do these muslims represent the true face of Islam?

  3. The website for this PCI organization looks really interesting. I love the images of Muslims and non – Muslims in friendly atmospheres engaging in beautiful relations. It is not impossible at all, just needs an open mind and open heart. However, Ali Alyami posting that video seems to be going against the program.

    Organizations such as PCI, Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogues (DICID) and The Institute of Interfaith Dialogues are certainly keys to address the question “how can citizens of the world live in peace and harmony together?”

    Thank you AB for putting this topic up.

  4. Mrs. B:

    We can start by believing in the make believe that is religion.

    Read about El Elyon and Asherah. The begining of the Judaism theology. There you will find the pagan God Yahweh. It is a interesting time and very informative I assure you.

  5. I need an edit button at times.

    Should state, “we can start by NOT believing in the make believe that is religion.”

  6. No Bigstick, these Muslims does not represent the true face of Islam. NGOs such as Malaysian Interfaith Network, DICID, Muslims Women Coalition, The Institute of Interfaith Dialogues, The Muslim Council of Britain etc are some representative of Islam where their aim and mission is to promote understanding, to work for a more enlightened appreciation of Islam on the society and to foster better relations for the good of the society as a whole.

  7. No, Mrs Bawazir, they are the real face of Islam, just a different angle, as much as any other Muslim group.

    You don’t get it, do you? You (Muslims) say one thing, but you do another.

    Let me ask you one simple question:

    Do you understand that your prophet attacked other people without provocation and that he committed horrible deeds against them?

    That question can be answered with either a “yes, he did” or “no, he didn’t” response.

    If you and other Muslims cannot be honest about simple questions and simple facts from your own traditions, then there is no hope for peace. If you can read the Quran and not see the hate and violence in it, then you are either illiterate, in denial or deceitful.

    Or maybe if “yes” or “no” questions are too esoteric, you can instead explain how one makes peace with the addressees of Quran 9:111.

    Rather than “promote understanding” why don’t Muslims just stop the discrimination and persecution of non-Muslims where they dominate, including Malaysia?

    This is no different from the Mr Medearis interview or the preceding I-forget-the-name website from December. It is all tea and sweet talk on a pile of broken bodies

  8. that’s not fair kaktuz, you are putting words in my mouth :/ that is just my answer, and then there is your answer so we both have our own answers 🙂 and to your 1st question, my simplest response is..jeng jeng jeng…no he didn’t! to your 2nd question, my answer is simple but rather long. that verse is in the chapter of At Tawbah (Repentance).for you and those who are struggling to understand Quran, you may understood the verse to be as if the Quran is instructing Muslims to kill non Muslims. To me, however, it is a beautiful verse. now before you accuse me of being a terrorist, let me explain why. “Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur’an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.” (9:111)

    This verse, is applicable to the Muslims during the time of the Prophet, in battle against non-believers, in context of self-defence. The Badr Battle (where the Muslims were driven out of Mecca and the number of Muslim soldiers were only 313 while the Non Muslim soldiers were 1000, now bear in mind the Muslims were tortured in Mecca and some killed and were driven out of their homes) is an example. Thus, God is making it clear to these Muslims that fighting for FREEDOM OF RELIGION is more important than their fear of numbers. it was telling the story of a WAR, naturally in war killing is expected.There is yet to be a war where soldiers would hug and kiss each other. The verse was telling Muslims to not be afraid in battle for Allah shall grant them Paradise.

    Another popular verse used by enemies of Islam (when I say enemies of Islam, I mean the ones who are oppressing,killing,torturing,suppressing us) is verse 9:5 but why do they never post the verse after it 9:6? or 9:1-9:6? Islam critics remain shy of posting the next verse 9:6 because it contains the answers to their deception.“And if anyone of the idolaters seeketh thy protection (O Muhammad), then protect him so that he may hear the Word of Allah, and afterward convey him to his place of safety. That is because they are a folk who know not. (PICKTHAL Translation, Quran 9:6)

    anything else kaktuz sweetie?

  9. I seriously doubt you know Malaysia or have ever been here but as a citizen, I have never seen in any other country (except maybe USA) where amalgamation and tolerance of religions is accepted. Sure there are VERY few incidents where groups of different religion would come to a head butt (if even our own tongue sometimes gets bitten by our teeth, of what can we expect from people of different faith?) but the general environment is one of peace and tolerance. you will see mosques, temples, churches flourishing everywhere and the best thing is, we have this kind of tradition which we call Open House, where in every religious celebrations such as Eid ul Fitri or Chinese New Year or Deepavali, there will be feasts in everyone’s houses which are opened to friends and families and communities of many faiths. Have a look at these pictures

  10. A better place to look for that, Mrs. Bawazir is in Canada. There is no danger of a mosque or church being harmed by others. Malaysia is not free of that and I think the reason why is that it IS and Islamic country. It is also a known historical fact that Mohammed did attack and destroy.

    On the subject of religions getting along … there is a town in the USA, Fairfield Iowa, that has been built by people who practice transcendental meditation. The community is made up of people from ALL religions including Islam and Judaism who get together once a day to meditate. There is a school and so on and there is absolute religious harmony. Sounds like Utopia to me.

  11. Regarding the video … this is why sooooo many people around the world are afraid and more and more I think we need to be.

  12. Mrs. B:

    The problem is that I will never veiw any religion as anything but a made up pile of crap. Archeology and History contradict these books in many instances. Then there is actually no proof that any of it every happened except crap that was written long after the death of these fairy tale prophets. Quite frankly Judaism has been shown to have been started from El-elyon and Asherah. Yahweh was a minor pagan god. In addition, there are numerous scholars that state that Muhammad was the title given to Jesus that was later twisted for both political purposes, loss of language and a need to distinct another faction with another religious purpose.

    I find religion to be evil. It is an offense to humanity and an insult that I am expect to have to bow down to a hatefilled book with an evil god and evil prophets to which evil or indoctrinated people profess that I must respect which is the most hatefil disrepect crap I have ever heard.

    Jesus was a narcissist as well with all the tendencies. Bow down to the man prophet. He too was a hateful individual who wanted people to worship him all the while benefiting from followers and blind devotion of the cult. To divide people such as brother against brother. Seriously this is not a person who wanted to bring peace but wanted a following of sheep who didn’t think for themselves. At least that is how it is written. Again, the Gospel of Mark is considered by many scholars to be an allegory (story) and the rest is just built on the allegory. Seriously it is ridculous.

  13. Oh here is another thing that history got wrong. All those supposed slaves who built the pyramids were not slaves. They were paid workers.

    My view is religion help create the institution of slavery. History doesn’t support this view. In addition, every time religion was instituted they regressed backwards and insert new ways to create hell on earth. Then they tried to erase the actually history that which showed that the hate mongers were not as bad but it has been found that even Christianity created hate, slavery, gender apartheid, homophobia etc.

    Religion is a curse and a pox to the world. God of these books is the same as the Devil. God is the Devil.

  14. Clarification: History doesn’t support the view that their was a bunch of slaves as people who are of religion would like people to believe.

    Even the Exodus didn’t occur.

  15. Bigstick, et el …. what is this – new topic same old discussion? It seems to not matter what the topic is some of you can only discuss or argue the same stuff over and over and over again. Can’t you be a bit more inventive or broaden the scope a bit???

  16. Wendy:

    Well. I keep hearing the same old tiring thing from everyone on religion so I just keep repeating the same old thing.

    Repetition, repetition, repetition, and you might be able to change a habit.

    However, I would like to hear what inventive stuff you would like me to come up with. Are you asking me to invent a new religion?

    Is there something you would like me to concentrate on or broaden to? Given me a topic. How about Betrand Russell?

    By all means tell me I am all eyes.

  17. Re: Malaysia ….. where amalgamation and tolerance of religions is accepted

    While it may be true that Malaysia has largely avoided overt religious conflict in recent decades but tensions have simmered since a court ruling in late 2009 which banned the use of “Allah” as a translation for “God” in Malay-language bibles. The ban had been in place for years but enforcement only began in 2008 out of fear the word could encourage Muslims to convert. Since then, the ruling has triggered a series of attacks on Christian places of worship using Molotov cocktails, rocks and paint….

    And this just in: an Islamic Tolerance Alert from modern, moderate Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur’s official Friday sermon says “Jews are the main enemy to Muslims”: Delivered in mosques all over the nation’s capital city, this sermon was based on Qur’an 5:82, which says that the Jews will be the worst enemies of Muslims. It’s noteworthy that this sermon was delivered in Malaysia, half a world away from Israel: clearly the Malaysian enmity for Jews is based on Islam, not on political considerations.

    http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/in-friday-sermon-jawi-tells-muslims-jews-are-no.-1-enemy

    And then finally this finale:

    Malaysian govt. to hold seminars on “threat of Christianity to Islam”(AFP). Obviously, they’re not concerned about Muslims committing violent jihad in the name of Islam. No, a far greater threat is that of Christians proselytizing Muslims :)- Whatever happened to “there is no compulsion in religion”?

  18. I don’t know why Muslim countries fear Christians converting Muslims. If God leads people to the Way, to the Path, to Himself (is this not what Muslims believe??), then WHY do they fear Christians as being stronger than God in this?

    Why not let people invite others to their faiths and let people choose to go, stay, do something else entirely?

    Muslims have dawah as part of their faith so why don’t they respect the fact that some others faiths do as well?

    This goes for Christians who fear Muslim missionaries as well.

  19. I have the impression that all these ”interfaith dialogues” are not so much dialogues but attempts to paint Islam in a rosy light, and hopefully get some new converts. From what I’ve noticed, (I might have missed things), it seems to be always a kind of one-way traffic.

  20. Re: Enemies of Islam aka Islamophobes

    Is Islamophobia A Rational or Irrational Fear? Or a religious card played to divert criticism?

  21. @Bigstick,

    I have noticed a trend with your posts that orient to anti-Saudi and anti-religion. Like Wendy, I’d also enjoy seeing something different (without compromising your own personal views). I am curious why you are drawn to American Bedu which is a Saudi blog?

  22. I like so many others on this blog are anti-religion. So to single me out on that subject is interesting. Is it because I associate the concept of the Religions “GOD” with evil? Considering all of God’s faulty’s I think I can put him on this level.

    Here is something sum up that point:

    Political correctness from the other end of the ideological spectrum has also distorted many people’s conception of violence in early civilizations—namely, those featured in the Bible. This supposed source of moral values contains many celebrations of genocide, in which the Hebrews, egged on by God, slaughter every last resident of an invaded city. The Bible also prescribes death by stoning as the penalty for a long list of nonviolent infractions, including idolatry, blasphemy, homosexuality, adultery, disrespecting one’s parents, and picking up sticks on the Sabbath. The Hebrews, of course, were no more murderous than other tribes; one also finds frequent boasts of torture and genocide in the early histories of the Hindus, Christians, Muslims, and Chinese.

    I ask you if this isn’t a God of Evil then what is it?

    Next religion divides people and creates hate. Let me give you an example that maybe you have picked up on. The Muslim and non-Muslim situation. In others words the us against them concept. This is what religion has provided to humanity for thousands of years.

    So instead of stating being of the human race with my fellow human. The religious state that they are (Muslim, Christian, etc.) they use a derogatory term for the person who isn’t of their religion. Next even within that religion there are those who are even more devotedly religious than others all of which can be judged by a group of the most devotedly religious who then exact a punishment to included death on the not so perceived fellow religious person.

    Therefore religion creates hate and distrust between even their own let alone a different religion. So if they can’t even agree that a Muslim is a Muslim without creating hate, animosity toward them what the heck do you think they are going to do to a person who has a different faith.

    Next, archeology and history show that religion did not come about by divine intervention and much of what it states has been proven to be a story, distortion of earlier civilizations, politically guided, and/or just the need to have a following. So when i state that the God of religion is evil then you must understand that I associate religion as a make believe book I will equate the God of the Bible/Koran/torah/insert other text of hateful religion to Lord Voldemort. Because that is basically what God of religion is a make believe character with the personality of Lord Voldemort and dedicated to his followers in his twisted cult.

    Next:

    I was interested in Saudi Arabia and still am but recent events have really soured me on the country. Let’s look at them shall we.

    1. The highest cleric calling for the destruction of churches. Now I may not agree with religion but ancient churches are in fact part of my history and I don’t care for its destruction. So I am rather intolerant over this as such an action will let to death and persecution of Christians, children, non-believers, etc.

    2. The arrest of Hamza over a tweet of extremely mild nature. This resulted in over 30, 000 Saudi’s calling for the death of this young man. I don’t know call me silly but if this is the mentality of many of the Saudi’s then I have real problems with people in Saudi.

    3. The death and persecution of witches and sorcerers. Apparently many Saudi’s actually believe this and people have been executed recently over just this. They even have five day course on how to deal with witches and sorcerers if you can believe it.

    4. Putting women in jail at 35 years of age for wanting their own lives. They treat women like chattel, men harass them, required to cover, limited to bearing children, etc. Allowing rape of children by marrying them off to old men for a price. Slavery and torture if you ask me. The courts allow it to stand. Insert any other injustice to women and you will find it here.

    5. No church or other religion will be allowed in Saudi. They are the most intolerant group known currently in the world. That intolerance is growing in the Muslim world. It is well documented.

    6. The growing need fueled by oil money to spread this type of society to neighbor countries such as Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.

    The question is in the face of all this what is it about Saudi that you feel that the Western really needs to see and to understand? What is it about their society that trumps the west in their treatment of people in general in their freedoms? What is it you really want to bridge between these societies AB? Why is it so important they you feel the need to be an ambassador to Saudi to the US?

    Remember Hamza (over 30000 people immediately wanted him dead) is still in jail, women were sentence to lashing for driving, men were called to beat women if they dared drive, and some women were jailed and threaten to have their children taken away, men put in jail over trying to show the poverty of the people. All the while the religious and the Royalty censor and hide the atrocities. The royals even had some of their princesses killed for marrying without their consent. This is Saudi and this is their government. Saudi is a religiously upheld country and the victims are generally their own but they now have money to spread this philosophy and taint children with the hate of their religion.

    Lastly let me give you two example to which I associate the moral standards of both Christianity and Muslims.

    Here is an article on a not well know but historical incident.
    http://www.skyscript.co.uk/hypatia.html

    This is a story from one of the many damning Hadiths of the Prophet of hate and his god.

    Place: Dumat-Al-Jandal, a trading center enroute to Syria, The Well of Qarda atNejed
    Victims: Bedouin women, Meccan Caravan
    Zayd Ibn Haritha, the adopted son of the Prophet who divorced his wife, so that his Good Old Dad could have the pleasure, was sent to attack traders in Syria. The Bedouins who were also trading at the outpost, got wind of the Muslims nefarious plans, took up arms and drove away the would-be raiders. Zayd was furious that his plans had been foiled so successfully. He targeted an elderly woman of the same Bedouin Tribe, because she exerted considerable influence and wealth. On a dark moonless night, the aged 90 year old woman was grabbed ruthlessly from her tent. She was tied up and trussed like a chicken and brought back to the Muslim camp. Upon arrival she was gang raped and molested by the pious followers of Allah. She was whipped and beaten to an almost lifeless pulp. The sadistic impulses of the Muslims however did not end there, the night’s entertainment was not done yet. The eerie desert night, suddenly resounded with the cheers and throaty cries of bloodlust as the Bedouin matron’s arms and legs were tied to four camels. Zayd and three others of Mohammed’s select group, then climbed onto each camel and drove each one into opposite directions. As the wrinkled body was ripped apart in a blur of torn and bloodied flesh, cries of delight echoed all around. Such were the entertainment activities of the Peace loving followers of Allah.
    Soon after at the Well of Qarda in Nejed, Zayd along with 170 men attacked a hapless trade caravan of Meccans who were returning from Syria. They massacred most of the traders and took two of the men prisoner. But most important of all, the Muslims grabbed a sizeable booty from this cold blooded massacre. They plundered more than a hundred thousand dirhems from this raid. It is no wonder then, that Zayd Ibn Haritha was an “Exalted Martyr”. According to Mohammed himself “And Zayd, the Freedman of Muhammad, counted his freedom as naught compared with the service of Muhammad and Islam.”

    All of these activities, were of course, motivated by the divine words of Wisdom, spoken by the Messenger of Allah.

    Just remember there is all that God/Allah approved murder, slavery, chosen group, homophobia etc. sanction human atrocities.

    There you have it just a real quick tip of the iceberg.

    However, I will try to give a little more diversity to my posts.

  23. Bigstick … I just wonder why when any topic comes up it becomes one of Islam bashing and counter bashing and bashing the same old thing over and over again. I am not a fan of any organized religion as I’ve stated many times and I’m especially not a fan of a religion that controls so completely but it becomes a bit too much at times and for what reason? Are you going to convert Muslims to think your way? Are you going to convert anybody? My comments go to everybody really and not just you. Make a point and let it be instead of beating it to death. It becomes mind numbing and II think if I were Muslim I’d get my back up pretty darn quick. I like a good discussion and argument as much as the next guy but sometimes it just goes beyond reason.

  24. Aha, yes Wendy I forgot Canada.
    No, Malaysia is no utopia but it is by far one of the best Islamic countries to live in and to see people of all races and religion live together in near-peace. Let’s not attempt to be naive and think there exist a country where no tension of religion ever arise. Best we can see is the level of tolerance and harmony of that country based on laws implemented, general community and general outlook.
    As for the other comments, I really don’t see any probability of the 2.1billion Christians, 1.5billion Muslims, 900million Hindus, 376million Buddhists, 23million Sikhs, 14million Jews and 23.5million other faiths followers of the world to give up their religion and become atheists just yet so I think the “next best” thing is to have these Interfaith Dialogues, I think this is more realistic.
    As for Interfaith Dialogues being no more than an attempt to convert non Muslims to Islam, it isn’t relevant as many Interfaith organizations are founded by Christians, Jews etc. examples are the United Religions Initiative, Interfaith Encounter Association, Messiah Foundation International and lets not forget the World Interfaith Harmony Week under United Nations.

    Hehehe Abe, since you knew I’m from Malaysia your direction of combat has switched course from Saudi to Malaysia 🙂 What can I say, about the attacks of Muslims on Christian’s house of worship is despicable just as the acts of bombing the Imam Al Khoei Mosque in New York, also an Imam was killed in a mosque in Brussels when a coward threw a bomb, mosques being attacked on and on in Gaza, placing pornographic materials in Quran or placing pig’s head in mosques etc. These are despicable acts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_P-pkJ5Ka8&feature=related

    The issue of spreading Christianity to Muslims in Malaysia actually became a real issue when Christian teachers were spreading it to kids in schools and in their house (extra classes/tutoring). This is of course alarming since children do not have the capacity of intelligence to think for themselves unlike adults. important to note is it was not only being taught to Muslim children but Hindus and Buddhists school children as well.

    However, Interfaith dialogue is really the best step.

  25. ‘FAITH IS PERSONAL’ — as long as we can keep repeating this then i don’t see a problem.most of the problems among religions is political, In india a couple decades ago, where i lived, hindus, muslims adn christians lived in harmony, absolutely no issues, c’mon i even married a muslim without converting and no one rose up in arms . no one judged, no one cared, they all came to bless us and that was that.
    nowadays a lot of politicians incite hated for votes, polarize extrmees and the gulliable idiot public follws.

    I went to catholic convent fo rmost of my education and attended cathecism classes – we all did the school had about 70% hindu children, Muslim kids too and we ALL went to that class because the school required it of us. NOT one child converted 🙂 not 1 parent objected.

    we are becoming a very intolerant society adn as a human race becoming intolerant of ortehrs belief – inwhatever not just religion.

    we need to learn to keep our religion at home. adn the religious heads need to stop trying to convert, dawah, bring to light whatever anyoneone and everyone.

    I’ve seen christians at my door wanting to talk abut thewir religion adn muslims trying to give me dawah – thank you people i don’t need saving, if i did i’d come and ask for it.
    so as long as everyone minds their business i don’t see why we can’t get along, come chat about food, culture, fun, friendship, heck come bash our politicians, talk abotu social issues and what we can do to better lives, women’s care, upliftment etc., etc., just don’t try to save any one’s souls or lead themto light and i think we”ll do just fine.

  26. Rahdaa:

    I could’t agree more. Also yes, I used to live in the bible belt as well and I know a great deal regarding people wanting to save your soul. In addition, I didn’t start my push back and being so vocal until this year as more and more religious people are forcing their views on others. I have no problems be tolerant as long as I don’t have to abide by someone else’s rules of salvation, be forced to have my family subjugated by someone’s religion’s moral objections, ie abortion, birth control limitation, stay at home, dress modesty or else risk humilation, torture, harassment, etc., By the way married men like there wives using birth control as they like having sex without the worry of more children. Just saying. Personally I get tired of the religious interfering with my sexual life with my spouse. I also don’t want them in the room with me with my doctor nor does my wife. I tend to think we can deal with more pressing issues like global warming, famine, starvation, lack of education, systematic discrimination, etc.

    However, the religious have decided to insert the theology into the public realm and it is spreading by means of fundalmentalist.

    I am also sick of being called a rabid, uncontrollable drooling, weak pathetic dog as this discribes men. This is an enviromental conditioning based upon what is taught and what is acceptable. Men are quite capable of controlling themselves. I have gotten damn tired of this crap.

  27. Well put Radhaa.

  28. What we see in the world today is not religion it is merely old worn out traditions. The essence of all religions is the same and that is to bring cures to the ills of mankind and each did that in their own time.

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