Quaker Universalist Conversations

Latest news from the Parliament of the World’s Religions

The Parliament of the World’s Religions  is an organization with which Quakers have been involved since its inception at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. (Full disclosure: I serve as a Quaker representative to the PWR.) Printed below is their most recent online newsletter. The statement by  PWR Council Chair Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid helps put into perspective the QUF statement regarding the rise in religiously motivated violence and persecution.  —Anthony Manousos

The Parliament Newsletter

Egyptian Muslims holding vigil during Coptic Christians' Christmas Eve Mass

Thousands of Egyptian Muslims Serve as Human Shields to Protect Coptic Christians
Muslims turned up in droves for the Coptic Christmas mass Thursday night, offering their bodies, and lives, as “shields” to Egypt’s threatened Christian community

Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word last Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside.

 Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid Coptic Christians Are Neighbors
“This is where the interfaith movement must continue to strengthen itself to connect neighbor with neighbor as individuals, not as objects of some distant foreign policy.”

Council Chair Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid reflects on the recent violence in Egypt in the Huffington Post.


From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for the evening mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.

“We either live together, or we die together,” was the sloganeering genius of Mohamed El-Sawy, a Muslim arts tycoon whose cultural centre distributed flyers at churches in Cairo Thursday night, and who has been credited with first floating the “human shield” idea.

Among those shields were movie stars Adel Imam and Yousra, popular Muslim televangelist and preacher Amr Khaled, the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak, and thousands of citizens who have said they consider the attack one on Egypt as a whole.

“This is not about us and them,” said Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass at Virgin Mary Church on Maraashly Street. “We are one. This was an attack on Egypt as a whole, and I am standing with the Copts because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together.”

Click here to read the full article from Ahram Online.


Vigil after shooting in Arizona

Finding Solace After Arizona Shooting


Rabbi Brad Hirschfield

Violence like the weekend shooting in Arizona is scary. Random violence, like the death of 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time this weekend is particularly terrifying.

In the face of such terror, we seek reasons and explanations. We want to know who and what is to blame, hoping that if we could figure that out and make it go away, we would be free of such horrors as the mass murder that occurred in a Tucson shopping center just 48 hours ago.”

Click here to read the full article.


World Interfaith Harmony Week
The first week of February is the official United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week.

Start a dialogue, host a breakfast, or attend an event near you.

Click here to learn more.


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Council Updates

  • The Council is exploring a social cohesion project, conceived to address the urgency of the growing immigrant diversity in Europe and elsewhere. This coming week, Rev. Dirk Ficca, the Council’s Executive Director, will be meeting with stakeholders in Malmo, Sweden; Antwerp, Belgium; and Frankfurt, Germany.
  • Trustee Dr. Leo D. Lefebure has recently lectured at the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences in Hanoi, Vietnam; the Chinese University of Hong Kong; and the 2010 International Symposium of the Istanbul Foundation for Science and Culture in Istanbul, Turkey. His recently pubished book “The Path of Wisdom: A Christian Commentary on the Dhammapada”, co-authored with Peter Feldmeier, offers a new translation of the Dhammapada (a collection of sayings of the Buddha), plus an explanation of the Buddhist context and a response from the Christian tradition.

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