July 2011

Doctrine Divides, Action Unites



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  Transforming Communities One Person at a Time
Bruce Van Voorhis
A two-week workshop was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, by Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF) to discuss ways in which people in diverse communities can relate to one another, especially those with a different identity from themselves, and how conflict can be an opportunity for social change rather than an obstacle. For the first time, participants from outside of Asia attended a program conducted by ICF with nearly one-third of the participants from the YMCA in England. [Read more]

 The Attacks in Norway and the Price of Fear
Natana J. DeLong-Bas
The societal factors at the root of violent attacks that are based on a fear and ignorance of those whose identities are different from the mainstream community need to be addressed, notes the author, or otherwise, the lethal actions of Anders Behring Breivik will only be replicated in the future by someone else. [Read more]

 Resisting Revenge: A Terrorism Victim Stops the Cycle of Violence
Helen Thompson
The bombing on Bali in 2002 claimed the lives of 202 people. One of those killed was the husband of Hayati Eka Laksmi. She explains to the author why vengeance is not her aim. [Read more]

  Court Verdict Encourages Further Attacks against Religious Minorities in Indonesia
Asian Human Rights Commission
Participants in mob violence that killed and injured members of the Ahmadiyyah community in Indonesia on Feb.6 this year were sentenced to three to six months in prison on July 28. The lenient sentence for taking the life of another human being is expected to inspire the loss of more life for the Ahmadis. [Read more]

  Blood, Tears and Optimism: A Reflection from Dang
Shree Ram Chaudhary
The author, a member of the Tharu ethnic community in Nepal’s midwest region of Dang, shares the decades of hardship of his people, especially during the years of war that engulfed the country from 1996 to 2006. [Read more]

  Dialogue Can Build Understanding, Trust and Peace among Thais and Cambodians
Pornpimon Ponprom
A School of Peace (SOP) alumni from Thailand shares her reflections about a meeting in May in Bangkok, which was co-sponsored by Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF), that emphasized the teachings of faith and the use of dialogue to promote peace between the people of Cambodia and Thailand as the two countries work to resolve the tensions on their border. [Read more]

  Indian Women’s Rights Activists Stand in Solidarity with Women in Sri Lanka
A civil war that began violently in Sri Lanka in July 1983 ended violently in May 2009. Many observers inside and outside of the country are troubled by an apparent escalation of human rights violations during the last five months of the war, especially in the North of the country as the Sri Lankan army took control of the last enclave held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). It is in this context that women in India share their concern for their sisters in Sri Lanka for their past and ongoing suffering through this statement. [Read more]

  Torture Leads to Death in Custody in Kashmir
Nazim Rashid, 28, was detained by the police’s Special Operations Group (SOG) and army on July 30 in the Kashmiri town of Sopore for questioning about a man who was killed. The next day he himself was dead, allegedly because of torture inflicted by the Indian security forces during his interrogation.
“Allah never showed a father the body of his son in a such a condition. I am shattered,” his father screamed.
Further details about Rashid’s death in custody can be read at <http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/2011/Aug/1/sopore-youth-dies-in-police-custody-107.asp>.

  Churches across America Read from the Qur’an
Tad Stahnke
In the wake of the 9/11 tragedy in 2001, incidents of Islamophobia have been evident in many parts of the United States with one of the most recent and well-publicized examples being the burning of the Qur’an in March by a pastor and his church in Florida. Faith Shared, an event held in June in places of worship across the country, reflects an effort to return to one of the pillars on which the republic was founded in 1776—respect for all faiths and those who practice them. [Read more]

  The Meaning of an Image
A graphic image was recently circulated among those who have attended the 14-week School of Peace (SOP) in Bangalore, India, and a mini-SOP for three weeks in Sri Lanka in 2010. The alumni were asked to reflect on the image and share their observations with each other. The image generated many different meanings, interpretations that were often influenced by the realities found in their countries. [Read more]