This issue looks at the preparations for the referendum on self-determination in Southern Sudan; it also examines the responses to recent attacks on Christians in Iraq, the trial of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands and An African Answer, a film on initiatives in peace-building and reconciliation in Kenya and Nigeria. The issue concludes with a reflective essay by Lucinda Mosher on American responses to the threat by Terry Jones, a pastor from Florida, to burn the Qur’an, and to the proposed Islamic Centre at Park51, New York.
On 9th January 2011 the people of southern Sudan are scheduled to vote on separation from the north. During September, two conferences were held in Juba, southern Sudan, as part of the preparations for the referendum. The first was organized by the Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Commission (JPRC) of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS) in partnership with Trinity Parish, Wall Street, New York, and the later was organized by the Programme for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa (PROCMURA), and hosted by the Sudan Council of Churches in collaboration with the Southern Sudan Muslim Council. The Archbishop Dr. Daniel Deng Bul said, “the Christian community will not see Islam in Southern Sudan with the lens that most Muslims in Northern Sudan see Christianity”. The second conference came up with the communiqué.
This year on 31st October at least 52 Christian people, including Syrian and Chaldean Catholic archbishops in Iraq, were killed at Our Lady of Salvation Church in Bagdad. This slaughter of unarmed people gathered in church to worship God is a shocking and disgraceful act that should be utterly condemned by people of all faiths and none. The recent issue contains a comprehensive analysis of this issue.
At the beginning of November the World Council of Churches hosted a four day consultation ‘Transforming Communities: Christians and Muslims Building a Common Future’. The consultation was jointly organized by the WCC, the World Islamic Call Society, the Royal Ahl al-Bayt Institute and the Consortium of A Common Word. The Network for Interfaith Concerns (NIFCON) posted a bulletin ‘Transforming Communities: Christians and Muslims building a common future’. The consultation ended by issuing a Final Statement.
A report on the trial ‘Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders goes on trial’. The prosecutors had brought five charges of inciting hatred and discrimination, and that the trial would scrutinize statements made by Geert between 2006 and 2008.
The issue concludes with an in depth article by Dr. Lucinda Allen Mosher, who is a volunteer staff assistant for the Network of Inter Faith Concerns of the Anglican Communion, on American responses to the threat by Terry Jones, a pastor from Florida, to burn the Qur’an, and to the proposed Islamic Centre at Park51, New York. This essay is accompanied by two short pieces by the editor on one group’s reaction to the threat of Qur’an burning, when Bibles were burned in Malawi and about Terry Jones’ press conference outside Park51 on Id al-Adha.
To read in detail please visit http://nifcon.anglicancommunion.org/digest/docs/digest14.cfm
Revd Rana Khan