Catholic Religious Leaders Experience Interfaith Dialogue for First Time
Invited by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, ING held an interfaith panel for more than 80 Catholic deacons and their spouses. Within the Catholic Church, deacons preach, assist priests at mass, perform baptisms, and minister to the needy.
The panel, titled Common Values of Abrahamic Faith Traditions, featured ING content managers Ameena Jandali and Henry Millstein representing Islam and Christianity respectively and ING Speaker Karen Stiller representing Judaism. For most, it was their first time hearing Muslim and Jewish Speakers and experiencing interfaith dialogue.
The requester of the panel commented, “ING provided us with experienced interfaith speakers to model a good interfaith dialogue between representatives of the three Abrahamic traditions to our deacons and their wives. The panel was very educational and inspirational for many of the deacons in the audience.”
According to Pew Research polls, 55% of Americans don’t know a Muslim, which leads to many Americans holding stereotypical views of Muslims: 41% of Americans believe that Muslims are more prone to violence than adherents of other faiths and 25% believe that half or more of American Muslims are anti-American. At the same time, anti-Semitism is growing: in 2017, anti-Jewish incidents surged by 60% over 2016.
However, those who do know members of these religious groups have more positive perceptions. For example, of those who know a Muslim well, 73% have a favorable attitude toward Muslims, and 67% believe that Muslims are an important part of the American religious community.
In light of these facts, it was more important than ever not only to provide an overview of Islam and Judaism to the group but also to teach about our shared values, the rituals of each faith, and the best way to hold interfaith dialogue. Tips can be found here:
- Webinar on Hosting Interfaith Dinner Dialogues
- 10 Ways to Be an Effective Ally to the Muslim Community
- Frequently Asked Questions about Muslims and Islam
During the panel, the speakers spent nearly an hour responding to general questions about each faith and specific questions addressed to individual panelists, including their view of Jesus, their beliefs about an afterlife, teachings about violence in their scriptures, and their tips for interfaith engagement.
When asked about interfaith solidarity, panelists cited the support of Muslims for Jews after the recent synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh and Jewish support for Muslims after a mosque was burnt down in Texas.
The dialogue concluded with suggestions for how to duplicate this effort in their region. To book an interfaith panel in person, or via webinar for areas where we don’t have affiliates, visit our site