Faith Friendliness

We have been sitting on an idea. It’s been a few years since David Miller, then at Yale in the U.S, coined the phrase “faith friendly” and, in response, our own Norm Habel developed a Charter for Faith Friendly Communities.
Nicholas Rundle, chaplain with Mission Australia, has checked out some of David’s research, particularly at the Ford Motor Company in the U.S. And some people are asking, what’s the next step after public meetings and formal inter-faith dialogues?

So we thought the time might be ripe to launch the idea, gather a small group of enthusiasts and head toward launching the idea in South Australia later in the year.

If you are keen on promoting interfaith friendship, check out the idea at:
http://www.faithfriendlyaustralia.org
and let me know what you think.

Muslim Anxiety
The Howard years were characterised by a clever manipulation of anxiety directed toward Muslims. As a result, it doesn’t take much to rekindle it today. The recent bombings in Jakarta were close enough for the chaplains to repeat their communique to the Flinders University Islamic Students Association, which was first read to their community gathered for Friday Prayer in September 2006. The revised communique is reprinted below.

Communiqué to the Flinders University Islamic Students Association

From the Flinders Chaplains

Friday, July 23, 2009.

The chaplains at Flinders – Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Pagan, greet you in the name of peace.

A salaam alaikum!

I stand before you as a representative of the Flinders chaplains to express our fellowship following the recent bombings of the Marriott and Carlton-Ritz Hotels in Jakarta, to assure you, firstly of our continuing support for you, and secondly our understanding that such violence can never be claimed to be in the spirit of Islam, which stands for grace, peace and mercy.

The violence of extremists who may claim the name of Allah is no deterrent to our esteem for you and will not come between us.

We confess that there have always been those who do violence in the name of our faiths – Christian, Hindu, Buddhist…who bring dishonour and shame to our faiths.

We live in times when we are more conscious of being intimately connected with each other across the world.

The well being of our neighbours in other countries is directly related to our own well being, the events that impact on others ultimately impact on us.

We are fortunate to live in times when we are more aware of our common humanity.

Our faith gives us understanding and strength to love our neighbour.

We remind you of the heritage of Muslim people in Australia.

In South Australia we particularly revere the Afghani camel drivers, who opened the inland of Australia and established mosques throughout the land. “The Ghan”, the railway that connects Adelaide to Darwin, honours their name. They were true to the spirit of Abraham (peace be upon him), the Father you and I hold in common, who journeyed to a foreign land, not as a warring conqueror, not with force but with faith, not with enmity but in friendship with the indigenous peoples, with the promise of becoming a blessing to all.

Many of you, too, have travelled to this foreign land to share with those of us who call this land our home.

Together we stand on the land of the Kaurna people.

Together, in our studies and research, we seek understanding to be a blessing to the earth and to each other.

 

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