Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Looking Back on Interfaith Ramadan 2014

The response to Interfaith Ramadan has been phenomenal this year. The positive comments, encouragement, and support that I, and the Interfaith Ramadan contributors, have received has been overwhelming. Thank you so much for reading, sharing, and commenting on the series. It's been such a pleasure to get to know new faces and observe new friendships being made as the series progressed. I was touched by the sheer number of private comments and emails I received from people wanting to share their stories and experience of interfaith and their happiness that there are others out there who share their passion. These heartfelt messages were a real blessing for me this Ramadan.

I'm incredibly thankful to the Interfaith Ramadan writers who were willing to put aside precious time from their busy schedules to produce beautiful and inspiring works for others to enjoy. This series was such a source of inspiration for me this Ramadan, they encouraged me, lifted my spirits when I felt down, and motivated me to keep going throughout the month.

Several writers wrote inspiring pieces about interfaith as a lifestyle and described how it had influenced them and their beliefs from childhood into adulthood. Carmen Ibrahim explored the spaces in between our comfortable faith bubble and the world beyond it. Sister Lucy offered her global experiences of interfaith in Monasticism Meets Islam. Others explained how their involvement in interfaith strengthened their personal faith with their own tradition, including Salvation Army officer Nick Coke's piece Interfaith Engagement is a Lifestyle and Charlotte Dando's Are you Open to New Light? which looked at interfaith from a Quaker perspective.

It was wonderful to hear stories from members of Interfaith families, including Susan Katz Miller's vibrant experience of interfaith in Senegal, Solsikke's experience of Being a Christian married to an Atheist, and Stephanie Meade intensely personal journey as she finds her way in Ramadan as a non-Muslim.   

There were several articles which focused specifically on the act of fasting. Samra Hussain, as the mother of four young children, shared her expectations and concerns as a mom before Ramadan began and, when we caught up with her afterwards, she thanked all the Interfaith Ramadan readers who had given encouragement and kept her in their thoughts and prayers over the month. 

It was fascinating to hear stories of fasting in other traditions, from Leanna's First Fast as a Baha'i when she was a teen to Crystal S. Lewis's exploration of fasting and reflection within the Christian tradition through her discussion of Isaiah 58. 

This month was also a time when people joined in fasting as an act of solidarity with Muslims around the world. Among the new faces I encountered this Ramadan, I was delighted to discover Rose Virginia Butler and share her inspiring story and her solidarity fast in One day of Pagan RamadanThis Ramadan was also noteworthy because it was the first time in decades that the fast of Tammuz 17 coincided with Ramadan. Many Jews and Muslims used this opportunity to come together in solidarity to support communities and individuals currently facing oppression or suffering persecution. Many found Rabbi Rachel Barenblat's heartfelt message The Walls Begin to Fall on her blog The Velveteen Rabbi particularly helpful during this time of reflection. 

In the spirit of greater community cohesion, there were a large number of informal interfaith iftars this year as well as brilliant events organised by The Big Iftar and Ramadan Tent Project. Dr Andrew Smith shared his experience of an intimate interfaith meal with friends and Julian Bond spoke of a Ramadan of Firsts where Lambeth Palace hosted its first iftar with speakers including Archbishop Justin Welby and Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra.

Alongside these beautiful personal stories, there were challenging articles by Jeremy Rodell (Why the faithful need secularism) and Jim Steele (Religious Labels: Constructive or Constrictive? written in response to Should we label children according to their parents' beliefs?), which explored the problems of interfaith when it collides with the raising of children and state education. Similarly, Dr Karl E. H. Seigfried tackled the practicalities of interfaith when it comes finance and the inclusion of 'minority' faiths in Do you believe in Interfaith? 

Several writers offered detailed insights into Islamic terms and concepts. Author Qasim Rashid adapted a chapter of his best-selling book Extremist as a critique against the awful actions of ISIS in Iraq and the surrounding region in A Ramadan Message to ISIS: You Don't Speak For Islam. Farouk A. Peru explored the word islam itself in Other Faiths or Other Paths?  Zaaynab-Le’Von presented various ways in which people of faith can deepen their imaan in Believing is Seeing. Nusrat AbdurRahman looked at the beauty of fajr in Making a case for 'Ramadan Muslims'. And, in her second article for Interfaith Ramadan, Crystal S. Lewis offered insightful commentary on Women's Rights in Christianity and IslamAnd finally, Maryam Din offered a powerful piece on LGBTQ Muslims and the importance of visibility in The Balancing Act of Being A Queer Muslim.

It was a privilege to be approached and interviewed by newspapers, magazines and blogs who wanted to promote positive interfaith stories this Ramadan, including The Guardian's What is it like to be a Muslim in Britain today? and Pinksky magazine's kind words in What's the Future of Interfaith Ramadan?  The warm and friendly interviews with Lucinda Borkett-Jones of Christian Today and Vicki Garlock of Faith Seeker Kids were particularly fun. It was an unexpected surprise to be featured in the Pearl Daisy blogChesterfield Pagans Interfaith: Is There Anybody Out There? and the Christian Muslim Forum Give Peace A Chance, who kindly asked me to write their Eid Greeting this year. The support of brilliant interfaith activists and organisations like Hind Makki, OneHumanist, the Abrahamic Forum, Interfaith Families DC, and the Woolf Institute, was greatly appreciated throughout the month.

My heartfelt thanks to family and friends with special thanks to Peter, Johnny, Julian, Joseph, and Estelle for their constant support and sage wisdom. To Colin and Tauseef who were prepared to drop what they were doing at a moment's notice to proof read at an unearthly hour in the morning! Thank you to Mariam and Esha for their adorable loveliness. And my sincere thanks to Jami, Kristina, Maryam, Sarah, Brenda, and Emilia for their encouragement throughout the month. And a special thank you to all the readers who shared Interfaith Ramadan on social media and helped to promote it this year. 

I would love to hear your ideas and suggestions for Interfaith pieces throughout the year and for Interfaith Ramadan next year. If you'd like to be involved, please get in touch. 

Wishing you all a lovely, peaceful Summer,


Saturday, 2 August 2014

How Was Ramadan? | Catching Up with Samra Hussain

Ramadan is all done for 2014. As it approached, I felt happy, I felt excited, but I also felt nervous and and scared. I worried about losing my temper with my children and about how hungry and thirsty I would feel during the long summer fasts.

I wrote in detail about my challenges and fears in an earlier post before Ramadan: Concerns of a Mom As Ramadan Approaches. Some of the readers got back to me through comments on Sarah Ager’s blog, while others on my own Facebook and Twitter account. Every one of those people, regardless of their faith or beliefs wished me well and hoped for a smooth and blessed fasting experience.

Samra Hussain

And tonight, as I sit here reflecting about my Ramadan experience, I am first of all filled with love and gratefulness towards all those people who both openly and in their hearts wished me well during Ramadan, because I truly believe that it was because of your kind thoughts and prayers that Allah Most Merciful indeed blessed my Ramadan.

My previous Ramadan was a much more difficult experience than this time. Last year, I had many moments of feeling light headed and feeling jittery and hypoglycemic. But this year, I felt barely any of that. In fact, I remember going through the first day of fasting wondering how it was possible that I was feeling so healthy. I did have a few moments of feeling hungry or thirsty but they were mostly fleeting and not even close to being unbearable. It was as if God radiated special love and attention on me. I felt unworthy and sometimes wondered if it was even okay to feel alert and active while fasting.

As Ramadan carried on, each and every day, I marveled and gave thanks to God for making me feel healthy and bright enough to fast and take care of my family. And each and every day I remembered to pray for the people who prayed for me and my family.

I am still amazed at how much I was able to accomplish while fasting. My husband and I had placed our four young children at a summer camp from Mondays to Fridays. My husband also mostly worked from home during Ramadan which was another HUGE blessing for our family. We were able to rest a bit after dropping them, then we completed errands and I prepared the meals for breaking the fast.

For the first two weeks of Ramadan, I had also enrolled two of my sons in daily swimming lessons after camp. It was really hectic after camp, when we brought the children home, fed them light snacks and then I drove the two boys for their lessons. I bathed them at the recreation centre showers then fed them at a bench outside, finally taking them home for bed time. Meanwhile, my husband cared for the other two children, bathing and feeding them so that by the time I got home with the boys all the kids were bathed, fed and ready for bed. Once the kids went to bed we would crash on the couch for a bit. Sitting there as I paid attention to my body, I realized that I was not as exhausted as I should have been, which was a miracle. It was really nice to break our fasts in peace and then perform our prayers and engage in extra acts of worship such as reciting Quran, calling on God’s names (known as ‘dhikr’), extra ritual prayers (salat), or watching/reading religious material.

It was an interesting and eventful Ramadan, because during the first week, my mother in law went through a knee replacement surgery, and then during the second week, first one of my sons caught a throat infection and had to go on antibiotics, and then at the end of that week another one of my sons had an accident at his camp. He was climbing up the steps of a slide, when he fell forward and hit his mouth really hard on the metal steps. When I got to camp to pick him up, I saw his swollen lip and his front two teeth were bent inwards. Terribly worried, I called our dentist, who told me to first take him to the hospital emergency room to get examined. 

Thankfully my husband was able to pick up the other children from camp on time, take them home and care for them. I was also grateful when the doctor determined that he had no internal injuries and just needed to see the dentist about his bent teeth. The next morning, I took him with a heavy heart to the dentist and paced the waiting room while the dentist removed the fractured portion of his teeth. My family was blessed a million times in that the roots of his teeth were still intact, which is why there was minimal pain as the dentist removed the snapped portion of his teeth.

In addition to visiting my mother in law who was in extreme pain from her surgery (and still is in a lot of pain) and picking up and dropping off the children and dealing with the injuries and sickness, I had to deal with my temper around the children. Although I was able to clamp down on my desire to get angry when they did outrageous and dangerous things better than usual, there were still many moments when I had my outbursts. 

At times I felt so crushed and overwhelmed by my children’s dependence on me that I would forget that they are still newbies at life on Earth. But every time I did lose my cool, I would feel immediate regret along with despair over my inability to stay calm and composed at all times. After all, fating is not just about refraining from food drink. It is also refraining from giving in to our ego and mood swings. Sometimes I wonder if any of my fasts are even accepted by God. I hope God forgives me for the times I lost control over my temper around the children.

My every moment of regret and plea for God’s forgiveness was met with the realization that we are all interconnected and that everything good, including raising children to be healthy adults, is achieved through dedication, kindness, cooperation, and self-sacrifice.

So thank you to everyone who prayed for me and my family this Ramadan. I wish and pray for all of you to feel God’s peace in your lives. I wish and pray for all humanity to feel God’s peace in their lives. Ameen! 

★ ★ ★

Samra Hussain is a stay at home mom. Her passions include reading and writing. In her free time she likes to write for her interfaith blog while also working on her teen fiction novel for girls. She can be found at her blog For the Love of God and you can follow her on TwitterMake sure you keep an eye out for Samra's debrief once Ramadan is over to see how she got on.

Previous Post: Eid Mubarak! (Written for Christian Muslim Forum) 

Monday, 28 July 2014

Eid Mubarak! (Written For Christian Muslim Forum)

This year, I was thrilled and honoured to be asked by the Christian Muslim Forum to write their annual Eid message. I'm incredibly grateful to this organisation, not only for the work they do throughout the year but also for the phenomenal support and encouragement they have given me since I began this blog two years ago.  

Below is just a short fragment. Head on over the Christian Muslim Forum to read the full version

"While there is much to be thankful for this Eid, we are also united by a shared sense of sadness as we remember the ongoing suffering which many endure around the world, which has been particularly intense this Ramadan. 
At a time when Christians, Ahmadiyya, and Rohingya Muslims face persecution in Iraq, Pakistan, and Myanmar respectively, and scores of civilians are dying in Syria and Gaza, it is all too easy for us to fall into despair at the current state of the world.  
Many of us have felt helpless in the face of so much suffering. It is in these moments that we have to step up, speak out, and join together as people of faith and work alongside each other to be the change in the world - to show that faith can be one of the most powerful forces for good."

Wishing you and your loved ones a blessed Eid full of love, light, and laughter!

Curator of Interfaith Ramadan

                        One Day of Pagan Ramadan | Rose Virginia Butler 

The Balancing Act of Being a Queer Muslim | Maryam Din

When people learn of two particular aspects of my identity usually they’re left a little perplexed and you really can’t miss the look of confusion on their faces as they try and figure out how it makes sense. I identify as a queer Muslim and it is these two parts of my identity that not only causes a lot of confusion, and result in a million and one questions (sometimes even really inappropriate ones), but it is also these aspects in which I face the most intolerance and abuse.

Being a queer Muslim, I tread an interesting line, a balancing act if you will. I face queer-phobia from some sections of the Muslim community and Islamophobia coupled with racism from some sections of the LGBTQ community. This means that I literally have to downplay the importance of my religion in some LGBTQ spaces and also having to downplay my sexuality in some religious spaces. The reason why myself and many people like me who identify both within the LGBTQ community and religious communities feel compelled to do this boils down to safety, physical and mental safety.

But you know what though? It isn’t all doom and gloom. It is also because I identify as queer and Muslim that I feel like I have a completely different outlook on life. You know the saying you can only know what someone’s going through if you walk a mile in their shoes? Well, I find that having such marginalized identities (I tick all of the boxes on the equal opportunities monitoring form - ethnicity, religion, sexuality and disability) allows me to be able to empathise with people’s struggles. This brings me perfectly onto the next bit. It’s because of my sexuality that I am able to be a better Muslim. That sounds so bizarre right? Let me explain. Islam deals with a lot of human rights and social justice issues and it is these aspects along with the socialism that I resonate with the most.

The most recent example I have of this is when a now friend, reached out to me. Let me set the scene a little first. I find that because I am so visible as a queer Muslim a lot of people are quick to criticize me and my ‘life choices’ and particularly question why I am so open. It the idea of not airing your dirty laundry in public. The day I came out to myself, I made a promise that I would never hide myself again. Clearly I took this to an unintended whole new level and now I’m visible from workshops to conferences to national radio.

Coming back to my new friend… She came out to me a few months ago and our later messages articulate perfectly why I am so open and unashamed about who I am. Here’s part of our interaction:

Me: I see my visibility as a duty for others who are not able to be visible to whatever reasons. 
Her: I don't know how many strangers have messaged you before like i did, probably lots, but now you have proof of it. You being "visible" gave me hope and courage and factored in me feeling less alone. So i will always appreciate that.

Reading that interaction still moves me even now. Visibility in a world which oppresses and marginalizes people is a political act. It is an act which unequivocally says that we are proud to be who we are and more than that, we love ourselves and will be unapologetic in who we are and what we stand for. Visibility says that we will not conform and we will challenge you and the status quo. Visibility, perhaps most importantly, saves lives.

Maryam Din is a social activist and graduate in International Relations and Politics who identifies as a Black queer feminist Muslim. She has a passion for visibility and activism within the intersections of gender, sexuality, culture and religion. She blogs at [ 5pillarsand6colours ] 

Sunday, 27 July 2014

One Day of Pagan Ramadan | Rose V. Butler

I’ve always been interested in religion and the way different people express their faiths, even when I was a fundamentalist Christian and believed many of these people were going to Hell. When I began delving into ancient history and studying more of the Old Testament, I decided Christianity wasn’t for me and started searching for something else. Exploring the faiths of the world was an amazing experience, one I wouldn’t trade for the world; to this day, I think everyone should take a world religions class and explore spirituality in their own way. In the end, I settled on Wicca, but the traditions and spiritual expressions of the other Abrahamic faiths—Islam and Judaism—are still beautiful and fascinating to me, so much so that I love following some of their online communities on
Patheos, YouTube, and Instagram.

It was these communities that sparked my interest in Ramadan and made me sorry that Wicca didn’t have its own month-long period of devotion. Sure, Wicca is very flexible—especially as a solitary practitioner—so I could have come up with one of my own, but it just wouldn’t have been the same doing it by myself. During Ramadan, millions, if not billions, of people all over the world take part in the fast at the same time; there is a sense of community and kinship between fasters. It’s the same for many Christians during Lent.

As Ramadan began this year, I toyed with the idea of fasting, if only for one day. When I found out a local mosque was holding an interfaith iftar on July 19th, I thought that would be the perfect day, but as the day approached, I wondered why I was doing it. Again, I looked into the theology of Islam, but it appealed to me very little. I admired the cultures and the traditions, but could not reconcile it with my personal theological beliefs.

Then the conflict in Gaza flared. It was then that I realized I wanted to fast to show my support for religious freedom all over the world. More and more injustices came to mind, from prejudice in the workplace to the fight over hijab in France and elsewhere. It is my sincerely held belief that people should be able to practice whatever peaceful religion they want to practice without being harassed or singled out. I also believe that people should be able to cover or uncover as much of their body as they’re comfortable with. Fasting would be my way of saying, “I support religious freedom.”

With this in mind, I had a surprisingly easy day fasting. To be honest, I think it was because I spent nearly the entire day out of the house, so I wasn’t tempted to snack or sip while I was watching TV or anything. I even did my best to be kind in all I did, and I don’t think I even snapped at anyone. I did wake up at four o’clock in the morning to eat my overnight oats, chug a quart of water, and pray to my God and Goddess—and promptly went back to bed. Then I went to the farmer’s market (where I was tempted many times with, “Are you sure you don’t want a sample???” and forced to trust my partner’s judgment when it came to fruit selection). Then, in the evening, I went to work (I had to skip the interfaith iftar because of it) … Did I mention I work in a restaurant? This was when I may or may not have gone a little crazy. It was unusually slow that night—or was it?—so there was little to do but focus on my growling stomach. I kept praying and looking at the clock and praying some more, and finally, at 8:30, I munched on a couple of dates I brought for the occasion and downed a bunch of water.

I think what surprised me the most was the amount of support I received, from Muslims and non-Muslims alike. My coworkers—none of whom are Muslim—were awesome, cheering me on the last few minutes of my fast. Everyone online, including the wonderful people surrounding Interfaith Ramadan, was very supportive. A few days later, I bonded with the man opening my new bank account after my partner, spotting the man’s Middle Eastern name, very casually (*coughnotcasuallyatallcough*) asked me, “Is Ramadan still going on?” to which the man replied, “You know about Ramadan??”

Did fasting bring me closer to the divine? Perhaps. I was acutely aware of my actions throughout the entire day, so I was very careful not to snap at anyone or get upset about the little things. I had also downloaded a prayer app that made my phone vibrate at the prayer times. Originally, I downloaded it so I would know when I could eat and drink, but I found myself pausing when it went off at other times, just to say a little prayer and remind myself why I was going without food or water for sixteen hours. Fasting definitely made me aware of the people who go without food or water because they have to, and if remembering and feeling compassion for them doesn’t bring you closer to God, I don’t know what will.

Rose Virginia Butler is a lifelong writer who has a variety of interests, including religion, books, social justice, ecology, food, and fitness. She is a solitary Wiccan and a member of her local Unitarian Universalist church. Rose is currently an English student at an online university with the goal of supporting herself through her writing. You can find her on her blog (rosevbutler.blogspot.com), which has links to other social networking profiles.

Previous Post: Interview with Christian Today

Interview with Christian Today

I was incredibly fortunate to be approached by one of the editors of Christian Today and asked to share my story of conversion and speak about why interfaith is so important to me personally, and why it's crucial for society at large. There were also some refreshingly tough questions about Salvation, the Trinity, and violence in the Muslim world.

Although the article was met with rather a hefty dollop of criticism (to put it mildly), it also received praise from Christians and Muslims alike who appreciated that such a popular Christian magazine had reached out and been bold enough to present a positive story about Christian-Muslim dialogue, in the knowledge that there would probably be considerable backlash for doing so. 

I'd like to say a special thank you to Lucinda Borkett-Jones, who was an absolute delight to chat with and incredibly generous in her write up of our conversation. I'm also very grateful to the readers of Christian Today who sent me public or private messages of support and appreciation. At times such as this, when tension so often derives from the cracks we have allowed to form between religions, those who take risks to challenge others on matters of principle and strengthen ties between people of different faiths (even if it means readers may press the dreaded 'unlike' button) deserve to be highly commended for their actions. 

And I hope that the readers who liked and shared the article found themselves challenged in a positive way and were given hope that there are innumerable Muslims out there working for peace and that it's possible work together to counter-act the terrible things done in the name of both our religions. 

Below is a short extract from the article which, if it tickles your fancy, you can find in full here

"At university, Sarah Ager was known for her Christian faith. Her parents are Salvation Army ministers. She grew up going to church and being in the church choir. Belief in God and being a Christian were a fundamental part of her identity, until she converted to Islam when she was studying English in Leicester. 
She wasn't peeved with the Church, didn't know much about Islam, and she didn't convert in order to marry a Muslim. 
So what led her on this journey? She decided to look into Islam when she met some Turkish Muslims at university. "The main reason I started studying [Islam] was because I was embarrassed," she says. 
"I knew nothing about Turkey or Islam, I didn't know what they believed; I was intimidated. I thought 'I have to at least Google this religion'." 
But Sarah didn't stop at a quick Google search..."

Previous Post: My First Fast: A Baha'i Perspective

Saturday, 26 July 2014

My First Fast: A Baha'i Perspective | Leanna

I was terrified.  There is no other way to describe it.

I gulped down more water, another bite of toast, and felt panic settle into my overstuffed belly: the sun was rising, and I was going to starve!

In my defense, I was 15 years old and already inclined to melodrama before becoming a teenager.  But there was nothing insincere about the overwhelming nervousness I experienced as I watched the sunlight fill our family kitchen on the first day of my first fast.

As a child growing up in a Bahá'í family, I had watched my parents - and in later years my older siblings - take part in the annual fast that precedes our new year in the spring.  I understood on an intellectual level the spiritual benefits of fasting from sunup to sundown for 19 days - how it helps us to focus on spiritual rather than earthly matters, how it allows extra time for prayer and reflection, how it leads to spiritual insights, and how it encourages a sense of togetherness among community members.

On an intellectual level.

On a gut level I was totally panicked.  And now I was finally 15, considered the age of spiritual maturity in the Bahá'í Faith and the first time I was required to fast.  As the first day of the Fast drew closer, I tried to think of excuses why I couldn't fast, but I didn't fall under any of the exceptions listed in the Bahá'í laws: I didn't do manual labor for a living, and I wasn't traveling, or pregnant, or ill, or elderly.  In the end, all I could do was cross my fingers and hope that my period would come early (which, of course, it didn't).

And so I found myself, belly sloshing with too much water and food, watching the sunrise as if it were something out of a horror movie.

I went to school as normal and tried to concentrate, although I was feeling a bit queasy from nerves and all the food I had forced myself to eat early that morning.  But the hours dragged on, and I survived.  In fact, things seemed rather normal.  I didn't feel faint or dizzy, as I had expected.  To my relief, I actually felt fine.

My energy started to fade in the afternoon.  I remember clearly sitting in my World Literature class, where we were reading - as fate would have it - Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse.  The teacher had allowed us some time for individual reading, so the classroom was still except for the occasional shuffling feet or bored cough.

Something happened to me that afternoon that I will never forget.  As I read about the Buddha sitting under the Bodhi tree, something clicked - not just in my head, where I already knew the importance of renunciation for spiritual growth - but in my heart, where I had been too afraid to believe it.  There was no angelic choir or dazzling radiance from above, but a quiet feeling of utter lightness filled me, and for the first time that day I relaxed and experienced a real sense of peace.

I still get very irritable when I fast, and I do find myself counting the days until it is over, but that sense of peace has never really left me.  Mixed into the inevitable fatigue are also moments of insight and calm, when I can recapture the feeling from that day, and remember that, in the end, the body is just a body, and the spirit world is beautiful beyond our wildest imaginations.  And that even a 15 year old drama queen can find moments of peace.

Note: As per the Bahá'í laws, I have not fasted for the past several years because I was either pregnant or nursing, but we have found other creative ways to share the spirit of the Fast with our two young children.

Leanna is a stay at home mother to a sweet, funny, rambunctious four year old boy and his adorable, smiley baby brother.  She draws inspiration from the Writings of the Bahá'í Faith and tries to raise her Monkeys in a fun, spiritual, loving environment.  She and her husband, who is from Costa Rica, are raising their boys to be bilingual and bicultural but more importantly to be "world citizens."  All Done Monkey is dedicated to sharing this journey with you!

Leanna is the co-founder of Bahá'í Mom Blogs and founder of Multicultural Kid Blogs.

Previous Posts:
What's the Future of Interfaith Ramadan? | Sarah Ager (Curator)
Do You Believe in Interfaith? | Dr Karl E. H. Seigfried

Friday, 25 July 2014

What's the Future of Interfaith Ramadan?

Last week I was kindly asked by Pink Sky Magazine to speak about Interfaith Ramadan. In the interview, shared a bit of background on my own interfaith family and how Interfaith Ramadan came about, my opinion on why interfaith is making headway, and where I see the project going in the future. Below is a short snippet taken from the interview.

What problems do you face in this type of blogging?

The first misconception that people have about interfaith is that it is a sort of ruse, an attempt at conversion cleverly hidden by a smile and a cup of tea. Interfaith work simply cannot work if one or both parties are trying to convert the other. Interfaith dialogue requires honesty, both to ourselves and to each other, and of course this means allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. People are unable to open up if they feel that the other person has ulterior motives. For these reasons, attempts to convert have absolutely no place in interfaith.

Sometimes there is an inaccurate concern that involvement in interfaith means you are somehow diluting your own faith. While the reality is that most individuals engaged in interfaith dialogue and activism find they feel more connected to their own faith tradition as a direct result of engagement with others.

It's important to note that the overall aim of interfaith is not to make everyone the same, but instead to acknowledge and respect difference, to learn from the experience of others, and encourage each other to grow within our own tradition so that we can do our bit to make the world a more inclusive and peaceful place.

You can find the full interview here.

Previous Article: Do you Believe in Interfaith? | Dr Karl E. H. Seigfried
Next Article: My First Fast: A Baha'i Perspective | Leanna

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