Issue 41, July 2003

The vantage point of being part of a global network consisting of church offices for interfaith dialogue, interreligious organisations, organisations of other faiths and religions, universities and other teaching institutions, individuals of different religions, gives us possibilities to reflect on issues relating to interreligious dialogue in different places throughout the world. This issue of Current Dialogue confirms this. You will find a paper on interreligious education and youth in the US, an article on interreligious experiences in Birmingham and Leicester in the UK, a Jewish-Muslim article on spiritual resources for peace in the Middle East, an article on Islamic peace-building. My colleague Dr Tarek Mitri contributes a paper on Christian-Muslim relations and perceptions as seen from his Middle East perspective and you will also find a paper, which the editor presented at a Bossey Ecumenical Institute seminar entitled “Interpreting the Bible in Pluralist Contexts”.

Inside this issue of Current Dialogue ...

"The Future of Interreligious Youth Education in the US" - Presented to the Advisory Group of the World Council of Churches - Courtney Goto

Jews, Muslims and Peace - Yehezkel Landau and Yahya Hendi

Interreligious Dialogue, Conflict and Reconciliation - Andrew Wingate

Opportunities and Challenges for Muslim Peacebuilding after September 11 - A. Rashied Omar

Christian-Muslim Realities: Historical Realities and Today's Relationships - Tarek Mitri

Jewish-Christian Dialogue can enrich Christian Hermeneutics -Hans Ucko

Understanding Oneself through the Other - Rabbi Jack Bemporad and Rev. Dr Hans Ucko

Religious Freedom and the Rights of the Individual Charter of Good Conduct - Liaison and information center concerning religious minorities

Christian-Muslim Seminar in Istanbul: Introduction "Common Values and Common Responsibilities" - Anton Wessels

Anton Wessels gives as an introduction to a Christian-Muslim seminar, a biblical meditation on power and the corruption of power. A final contribution and a quite unusual attempt is the document crafted by representatives of so-called New Religious Movements in Switzerland, like the Unification Church, Church of Scientology, Mahikari and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints. It is a “code of conduct” how to live with responsibility and respect for religious freedom.

You will recall that in the last issue we published, what we called, "Guidelines for Dialogue and Relations with People of Other Religions". We are now distributing them in our official languages but have decided to give them a slightly different name: “Ecumenical Considerations for Dialogue and Relations with People of other Religions.” We realised that by giving them the name ‘guidelines’, we might inadvertently convey a message that these had replaced the “Guidelines on Dialogue with People of Living Faiths and Ideologies” of 1979, which is certainly not the case. Both documents can be accessed on the net to be used in our constituency. Another reason for changing the name from ‘guidelines’ to ‘Ecumenical Considerations’ is that the latter may come across rather as considerations, building upon 30 years of experience than guidelines in the strict sense of the word. The Ecumenical Considerations will now be published in a booklet in English, French, German and Spanish and will be sent to our member churches for studies and action.

Our work in the Office on Interreligious Relations and Dialogue continues. We are looking forward to two important consultations, one on Jewish-Christian relations attempting to open a new chapter in Jewish-Christian dialogue. The concept paper, 'Understanding oneself through the Other' should give you an idea of our intentions.

The second consultation is mandated by the Central Committee of the WCC requesting an intra-Christian work on how to understand Christian identity in the midst of religious plurality. This process and project will involve three desks in the WCC: Mission, Faith & Order and Dialogue and produce material for reflection at the next Assembly in 2006. We will report on these consultations in our next issue.

Hoping that this issue of Current Dialogue meets with your expectations,

Hans Ucko

Books received :

DHARMA La voie du Bouddha

La confiance au cœur
de la voie

Dossier - Magazine
Editions Prajna
décembre 2002
ISBN 2-905188-57-8

DHARMA La voie du Bouddha

Le mandala de l'expérience

Dossier - Magazine
Editions Prajna
Mai 2003
ISBN 2-905188-59-6

The Gujarat Carnage

Edited by
Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer

On 27 February 2002, a coach of the Sabarmati Express was torched near Godhra railway station. Fifty-eight passengers, mainly Hindu pilgrims returning from a visit to Ayodhya in support of the temple movement, were burnt to death.

Within 24 hours, a conflagration of violence against Muslims erupted and spread in a large number of cities, towns and villages in Gujarat. The action was unlike any previous communal violence in post-independence India. Several investigative teams rushed to Gujarat, conducted inquiries and published reports and other documents. Official bodies including the National Human Rights Commission made important studies and presented them to the nation.

This book is a compilation of articles, editorials, investigative reports, surveys, memoranda and other significant material on the carnage. The final report of the National Human Rights Commission is included in it. Useful material and information will be found in it by future researches, academics and lay readers.

Asghar Ali Engineer (b.1949) has trained in Islamic theology, Tafsir, Islamic Jurisprudence and the Hadith and has more than 40 published books to his credit on Islam, the problems of Muslims, the rights of Muslim women, and on communal and ethical problems in India and South Asia. He is the editor of the quarterly Indian Journal of Secularism.

Orient Longman Private Limited
1/24 Asaf Ali Road
Delhi-110 090, India
Price: Rs. 425/-,

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