Unity in Diversity: Interfaith Dialogue in the Middle East
Nowhere are the stakes of sectarian conflict as high as in the Middle East, and nowhere is the practice of interfaith dialogue (IFD) more fraught with difficulty. The questions, then, naturally arise: What sort of person tries something as audacious as interfaith dialogue in such a polarized climate? And what do they hope to gain? The answers to both questions are surprisingly diverse. The authors, after briefly introducing IFD's central concepts and terms, its various models, and the nature of IFD in a Middle Eastern context, go on to discuss the intricate relationships between interfaith activities and religious identity, nationalism, violence, and peacemaking in four very different settings: Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan. But they have gone beyond mere reportage and analysis, interviewing the whole cross-section of local IFD workers: not only clerics and "dialoguing" professionals, but also Palestinian housewives, Maronite civic leaders, Israeli schoolteachers, Coptic storekeepers--laypersons who are often more eloquent than any scholar at expressing the realities, hopes, and frustrations of IFD within their home countries. Liberally quoting these frontline workers, the authors take on the perennial dilemma faced by IFD proponents: avoid politics and risk irrelevance, or take up the political questions and risk "politicizing" the dialogue, with all the disruptive effects this implies. Above all, this important book demonstrates the desire for interfaith dialogue in these polarized societies, and the extent to which, against strong odds, religious communities are connecting with each other.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
accept According action activist activities addition Address affect Amman approach Arab become Beirut beliefs bring called Center challenges Christian-Muslim Church civil coexistence communities conferences context Coptic Copts create cultural discussion efforts Egypt Egyptian encounters especially example exist experience fact faith fear feel field groups human identity impact important individuals initiatives Institute intellectual interaction interfaith dialogue internal Interview involved Islamic Israel Israeli issues Jerusalem Jewish Jews Jordan Jordanian lack leaders Lebanese Lebanon limited live majority means meetings Middle Muslims and Christians obstacle organizations Palestine Palestinian participants peace person political positive practices present problems programs projects promote reality region relations reli religion religious represent result rituals role shared similar social society success theological tion traditions understanding unity values youth