Local Interfaith Organizations and Websites
Below is a list of local interfaith organizations and websites.
A Website and a Newsletter/Journal
Two instruments of communication are central to the fulfillment of IBI's mission: the interfaithings website and the publication, Interfaithings, an electronic newsletter/journal. By publicizing interfaith events and events of interest to those interested in spiritual growth, collecting pertinent resource information, and providing the space for thoughtful writers to reflect on difficult issues, we seek to support those individuals and groups who are exploring new integrations of their uniquenesses and collective callings.
The Interfaith Bridging Initiative (IBI) started as a three year pilot project, in 2006 by the Mall Area Religious Council (MARC) and the Minnesota chapter of the Parliament of the World's Religions (P.O.W.R.). A contribution from the Presbytery of the Twin Cities provided seed. The Human Rights Center at the University of Minnesota agreed to co-sponsor and co-host an organizing retreat. Soon thereafter the Otto Bremer Foundation provided a three year, $10,000 grant. Since then, IBI has hosted or co-hosted a series of colloquia and programs celebrating the power of artistic expression to transform existing conditions. Presently, IBI's objective is to create a self-sustaining infrastructure that will facilitate the continuing fulfillment of its mission.
IBI is a non-profit organization directed by a four-member executive committee. Currently, the following individuals comprise the executive committee of the Interfaith Bridging Initiative: Rev. John Chell, Evangelist Charles Curry, Ira L. Gordon, and William Schmidt.
The following are the principal areas to which IBI is currently devoting time, energy, and monetary resources:
• Publication of Interfaithings, an electronic newsletter/ journal.
• Maintenance of www.interfaithings.org a website that contains:
Archives of the newsletter/journal.
Information regarding events of interest .
Links to other websites.
A blog that posts ruminations, questions, answers, etc., with an
opportunity for the general public to add their comments.
• Support for activities/organizations that foster increased interfaith
understanding and for activities/organizations that bring spiritually focused and creative individuals together to pursue public policy, ethical, and artistic goals.
• Support for the Twin Cities Interfaith Network (TCIN), an organization, initiated with help from IBI, that brings together leaders of organizations working toward increased interfaith understanding.
• Hosting retreats and colloquia that energize, train, and empower.
The Interfaith Youth Leadership Coalition is a group of high school and college-age youth who work together to nurture interfaith understanding, reduce prejudice and misunderstanding, and act together on common values through service and justice to transform our world. Our IYLC Youth Leadership Team brings together Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Unitarian, Baha'i, Atheist, and other high school youth. All programs are planned and led by youth. Area youth can check out a meeting anytime.
The Minneapolis Area Interfaith Initiative unites individuals and faith communities in the Minneapolis area in learning about other religious traditions, increasing interfaith understanding and building personal relationships across faiths.
The mission of the Muslim Christian Dialogue Center is to foster mutual understanding and cooperation among Muslims and Christians through academic and community dialogue grounded in the Qur'anic and Christian traditions. The dialogue flows from the belief that Muslims and Christians worship the same God (cf. Nostra Aetate, The Qur’an, 29:46; 42:15), click here for Nostra Aetate document... who is at work in both faiths. Our focus is primarily theological, rather than political, because our two faiths have so much in common theologically.
In September 2007 the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center moved into its new space at 2093 Grand Ave. on the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul campus. The Center is dedicated to fostering mutual understanding and cooperation between Muslims and Christians through academic and community dialogue grounded in the Qur'anic and Christian traditions.
During the fall 2007 semester the Center hosted two speakers: Dr. Omid Safi, associate professor of Islamic Studies, University of North Carolina on October 15, and Dr. Aref Abu-Rabia, Visiting Fulbright Scholar, on November 13.
The Center hosted an open house in October 2007.
During the spring 2008 semester the Center hosted three speakers, Dr. Jamal Badawi, Professor Emeritus at St. Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on February 20; Dr. Anouar Majid, professor and founding chair of the Department of English at the University of New England in Maine, on February 26; and Dr. Liyakat Takim, native of Zanzibar, Tanzania, and author of sixty scholarly works, on April 23.
In the fall 2008 semester the Center hosted two speakers, Dr. Abdullah al-Ahsan, Professor, Department of History and Civilizaton at the International Islamic University, Malaysia, on October 23, and Dalia Mogahed, Senior Analyst and Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, on November 5.
Spring of 2009 brought us our first panel discussion, "Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Journeying Together" on May 5, with MCDC co-directors and UST theology professors, Dr. Terence Nichols and Dr. Adil Ozdemir; Sheikh Odeh Muhawesh, MCDC Associate and Board member; Dr. Pamela Nice, documentary film maker of films concerning cross-cultural understanding between Americans and Arabs; and Mr. Owais Bayunus, MCDC board member and president of the Islamic Center of Minnesota.
In 2009 fall MCDC hosted speaker Dr. Yahya Michot, Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary, on November 5.
In spring 2010 the second MCDC panel discussion on "A Common Word: Love in Christianity and Islam" was held on April 15. The panelists were: Dr. Jamal Badawi, Prefessor Emeritus at St. Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; Zafar Siddiqui, MCDC board member and co-founder and President of the Islamic Resource Group; Dr. Terence Nichols, Co-director of the MCDC and professor in the theology department at St. Thomas; and Gail Anderson, MCDC board member and Director of Uniity and Relationships for the Minnesota Council of Churches.
In Fall 2010 we offered the third MCDC panel discussion on "Women in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam" on October 7 The panelists were: Rabbi Amy Eilberg of the Interfaith Conversations Project at the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning; Gail Anderson, MCDC Board member and Director of Unitiy and Relationships, Minnesota Council of Churches; Dr. Elaine MacMillan, adjunct professor in the University of St. Thomas theology department; Dr. Fatma Reda, a consulting physician and third level Mureedah (female seeker) in the Naqshabandi Sufi order; Honaida Al-Mottahar, an active member of the Minnesota faith communities and completing her post-graduate studies in education.
In spring 2011, our fourth panel discussion on March 8, "Doing Virtuous Business: An Interreligious Dialogue on Faith and Work," was a cooperative effort between the MCDC; Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning; John A Ryan Institute, and SAIP Institute at eh Opus College of Business. On April 6, speaker Dr. Muqtedar Khan, University of Delaware, and respondent Dr. Gerald Schlabach, University of St. Thomas talked about "Muslims and America: Beyond Fear of the Other." On April 8, speakers Congressman Keith Ellison and Major General Richard Nash, spoke on "The Role of Relilgion in U.S. Foreign Policy." On April 13, as a part of the Interfaith art pARTners festival, Dr. Adil Ozdemir and Dr. Terry Nichols, Co-directors of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center, discussed "Art in Islam and Christianity."
In fall 2011, the MCDC hosted three speakers and a panel discussion: on October 11 Professor Abdulwahid Qalinle, director of the Islamic Law and Human Rights Program (IHRP) at the University of Minnesota Law School, spoke on "Islamic Sharia: Threat to Democracy?"' On November 8, our fifth panel discussion hosted Rabbi Norman Cohen, senior rabbi of Bet Shalom Congregation; Susan Stabile, J.D., Robert and Marion Short Distinguished Chair in Law, University of St. Thomas; and Sheikh Odeh Muhawesh MCDC Board member and adjunct professor at the University of St.Thomas, in a disussion on "Pilgrimage: What might Jews, Christians, and Muslims learn from and with each other?" On November 21, Namik Ilksoy, professional tour guide in Turkey, leader of Dr. Adil Ozdemir's J-term class, "Islam in Turkey," and many church groups each year, discussed "The Role of Anatolia in the History of Christianity."