24th January 2020

Varanasi, India: Stories of Resilience against the Emerging Hindu Nationalist Narrative

I went around the city of Varanasi and talked to a wide cross-section of the local population, across different faiths. What became clear to me is that, while each faith tradition might have its own religious spaces, beliefs, and rituals, in this dense and close-knit city, it is not possible for one faith to live without the others. Interdependence has been built over centuries, and … Read more

Philippines: Promoting a Culture of Dialogue as a Path to Peace

To mark the Year of Ecumenism, Interreligious Dialogue and Indigenous Peoples in 2020, the Catholic Church has unveiled a new logo and theme for the celebration. According to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, the special year aims to celebrate “the human fraternity by promoting the culture of dialogue as a path to peace”. It also aims “to work for unity and harmony while … Read more

From Trinidad and Tobago: A Reflection on Diwali

Years ago, when I was a student at Hugh Wooding Law School, my friend, Ossie, from Dominica, and I celebrated Diwali with other students there, by telling the story from the Ramayana of Ram and Sita, and of the meaning of Diwali. There are other significant meanings related to this festival. Like me, Ossie is a Catholic. He had never read about this epic ‘story’ … Read more

Nigeria: Christian – Muslim Dialogue

gnatius Kaigama was only 36 years old when Pope John Paul II made him a bishop in 1995. In the year 2000, he was named Bishop of Jos. On March 11, Pope Francis named him coadjutor Archbishop of Abuja, the Nigerian capital. Kaigama will automatically succeed Cardinal John Onaiyekan when he retires. Kaigama has become one of the leading Catholic voices on the African continent, … Read more

Indonesia: Call to Muslims to stop branding People of other Faiths ‘Kafir’ (Infidel)

Clerics from Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Islamic organization, have issued a call to Muslims to stop branding non-Muslims as “kafir” — infidels. Their call came at the end of an annual three-day meeting in Banjar, West Java on March 1. The term ‘infidel,’ discriminates against people of other religions, and is not in accordance with the Indonesian Constitution that recognizes each citizen’s equal status and rights, … Read more

Dutch-born Franciscan Provides ‘Bullet-Proof’ Translation of Joint Declaration ‘On Human Fraternity’ for Indonesia.

When Indonesians needed a bullet-proof translation of the recent declaration signed by Pope Francis and Sheik el-Tayeb in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 4, Dutch-born Franciscan Father Martin Harun was the obvious choice. The pontiff’s meeting with el-Tayab, the grand imam of al-Azhar and a leading religious authority for Sunni Muslims worldwide, was hailed as a “clarion call for robust dialogue that leads to peace” by the … Read more