Tanenbaum.org https://tanenbaum.org Combating Religious Prejudice Wed, 16 Oct 2019 18:30:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 https://tanenbaum.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/cropped-FaviconLogo-1-32x32.png Tanenbaum.org https://tanenbaum.org 32 32 Looking Toward New Models for Reconciliation https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2019/10/reconciliation/ Wed, 16 Oct 2019 18:30:59 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=17054

Tanenbaum Peacemakers in Action Pastor James Wuye and Imam Muhammad Ashafa

Today marks the sixth annual Global Ethics Day, launched in 2014 by the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. Last year, we spoke about what ethics mean in today’s world and how the work of Tanenbaum’s Peacemakers in Action actively defines that role. This time around, we decided to take a look at the aftermath of violence driven by hatred and how ethical reconciliation plays a part in the entire process, from initial reactions to post-traumatic healing.

On March 15, a gunman entered the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and opened fire, killing 51 people and injuring dozens more. By now, this is an all-too-familiar tragedy, but what sets it apart is the united answer of the New Zealand people and government. The immediate actions taken are well known, and ongoing efforts include creating a registry of all guns and enacting a gun buyback program for anyone in possession of any gun or modifications that are now banned.

What remained to be addressed, however, was the risk of a divided community giving way to mounting suspicions and resentment. This prompted Initiatives of Change NZ, a global organization dedicated to “building trust across the world’s divides”, to invite our Peacemakers in Action duo from Nigeria, Pastor James Wuye and Imam Muhammad Ashafa, to New Zealand this past August.

The Imam and the Pastor were brought to help build trust and forgiveness among the people, and began their trip in Dunedin, meeting and engaging with professors and students at the University of Otago. At the Linwood mosque in Christchurch, site of 9 of the 51 victims, Imam Ashafa led a powerful prayer on forgiveness.

The Peacemakers next met with the interreligious council and engaged with its Christian members on how to engage with Muslims and increase Christian fellowship with their Muslim sisters and brothers, specifically those who were impacted by the tragic shootings. Lianne Dalziel, Mayor of Christchurch, met with Pastor James and Imam Ashafa and praised their interfaith training and capacity building.

The pair then visited Al-Noor Mosque, where 42 worshippers were shot and killed. No strangers to interfaith conflict and reconciliation, Pastor James and Imam Ashafa engaged the mosque constituents on reaching across to their fellow Christians and building trust. Their last stop in Christchurch consisted of meeting with representatives of the Christchurch police force. The two imams of the Linwood and Al Noor mosque accompanied them to help deepen conversations between Muslim community leaders and the police.

Traveling on to Wellington, they made their first stop at the Wellington Kilbirnie mosque and opened a dialogue with the imam and Muslim community on how to connect with other religious traditions. This proved necessary, as local Muslims had expressed fear after people started highlighting the dangers of Muslims in the country following the killings.

Finally, the pair ended their New Zealand efforts in a Wellington church, where they participated in a public Q&A for a full house! With the combined efforts of New Zealand representatives, communities, and peace promotors like Pastor James and Imam Ashafa, the nation of 4.9 million people have elicited an ethical reaction to a deeply unethical action, providing an alternative model in the wake of tragedy: one of sustainable trust, understanding, and of comprehensive initiatives from the governmental level down to local communities.

You can read more about the Pastor and the Imam’s time in New Zealand, or listen to either of their radio interventions, both local and national.

Faith-based Peacebuilding: Not for the Faint of Heart https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2019/10/faith-based-peacebuilding/ Fri, 11 Oct 2019 18:17:13 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=17046

Tanenbaum Peacemakers in Action Deng Giguiento and Azhar “Azi” Hussain

In August 2018, Tanenbaum Peacemakers in Action Deng Giguiento and Azhar “Azi” Hussain came together in Mindanao, Philippines, for the Interreligious Dialogue Learning Conference (IRD). The IRD, hosted by the Catholic Relief Services in partnership with the Catholic Peacebuilding Network, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, and Tanenbaum, was organized around the theme of “Theology and Practice of Just Peace and Pluralism: Dialogue Among Religious Leaders, Youth and Women Peacebuilders.”

Azi, Deng, and about 80 religious and spiritual leaders, dialogue practitioners, and youth and women peacebuilders, came together to galvanize faith-based approaches in peacebuilding and nonviolence.

The two Tanenbaum Peacemakers closed the ceremony with a presentation of Deng’s journey as an interreligious peacebuilder. Azi and Deng concluded by discussing the chapters they each contributed to the book on interreligious peacebuilding, “Making Peace with Faith: The Challenges of Religion and Peacebuilding (Peace and Security in the 21st Century)” (editors Michelle Garred and Mohammed Abu-Nimer).

Azi detailed his work with Madrassas in Pakistan where his interfaith project promotes peace in the area through conflict mediation and dialogue with different actors. His chapter in “Making Peace with Faith” is “Faith-based Peacebuilding in Pakistan: Not for the Faint of Heart.”

Deng went on to present her chapter, and explained how she almost gave up writing it because the process had brought up too many bad memories. She used this experience as a lesson, noting that peacebuilders often forget to address themselves and their inner demons. Her chapter is “Dili Sayon ang Pagsunod kang Kristo (It is Not Easy to Follow Christ)”.

Azi had the unique opportunity to interact with the local communities. He provided training for local imams and Muslim community members in Mindanao area schools and mosques. These trainings led by Azi were crucial in a region with increasing Muslim insurgencies. Deng’s connections provided both an audience and opportunity for Azi’s training. With the help of other scholars from CRS and Notre Dame universities, Azi also discussed tough issues with the imams and religious leaders.

Azi’s presence was powerful. What was initially supposed to be a 2-hour program turned into a 5-hour discussion, wherein Azi provided the Muslim audience with a resource they were not familiar with: The Ashtiname of Muhammad. This charter, ratified by the Prophet Muhammad, guaranteed the protection of the followers of Jesus Christ and helped Azi provide deeper knowledge to his audience, who have asked him to come back since! The Peacemakers in Action Network not only enabled Deng and Azi to collaborate over the course of this forum, but it allowed for the local Muslim leaders to receive training and resources that were new and eye-opening, bringing this information back to their communities to help foster sustainable peace and understanding to a steadily declining conflict.

A Shooting On Yom Kippur https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2019/10/yom-kippur/ Thu, 10 Oct 2019 18:30:04 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=17034

Friends –

As many of you know, I am Jewish. That’s why I was in Temple on Yom Kippur, when a gunman in Germany again tried to slaughter Jews as they prayed. He did not succeed in getting into the synagogue where over 50 worshippers sat together.

So he took his hate out on others nearby, apparently trying to fulfill the pledge he made in his online manifesto. “If I fail and die, but kill a single Jew, it was worth it…After all, if every White man kills just one, we win.”

My Rabbi condemned this violent act of anti-Semitism, as she remembered Pittsburgh and Poway.

Jews around the world—including in the U.S.—are at risk because of anti-Semitism. And horrifically, so are many others. This hate is not limited to targeting my Jewish community. It affects Muslims and Christians in countries all around the world. It targets Bahá’ís and Sikhs and Hindus.

Anti-Semitism reflects these wider social trends. It is often referred to as the “canary in the coal mine,” and often indicates a rise in stereotyping, demonizing others and widespread bigotry and hate.

And that’s why we are addressing this issue on November 14th, during a courageous conversation called Confronting Hate: Examining Anti-Semitism through Religious and Ideological World Views. It’s time to tackle violence against Jews head-on—and how it can fuel hatred against so many others.

We must stand together as allies to condemn anti-Semitism. And to protect one another.

Joyce S. Dubensky
CEO, Tanenbaum



Laughter, drinks & hitchhiking clowns: We took a night off! https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2019/10/comedy-show/ Tue, 08 Oct 2019 18:33:22 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=17021 On October 3, 2019, Tanenbaum friends (new and old) came together to take a night off. We had a wonderful time together in laughter and community.

We were thrilled to welcome back some familiar faces, and this year, our comedians brought the funny, along with newcomer Greg Radin, who was an excellent host. Amid raucous bouts of laughter, we all shared in the importance of taking the time to understand one another and the follies of miscommunication in everyday life – in funny (and unfunny) ways.

Thanks to Mike Rakosi, the comedic line-up and the Comic Strip Live crew, our sponsors and attendees, and our host committee for helping to make it a successful night in support of our work.

Have a look at our gallery to get a glimpse of all the fun, and if you missed it this year, hope you don’t miss out in 2020!

Halloween is around the corner https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2019/10/halloween/ Mon, 07 Oct 2019 16:47:19 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=16994
Dear Friends,

Did you know that Halloween may have origins in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain? Although Halloween may be popularly thought of as a day for trick-or-treating and parades, Halloween and the various observations that fall close to it, such as the Day of the Dead, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day, also have a great deal of meaning for those who celebrate.

Holidays are a great opportunity to learn about traditions. Learn more about these holidays in Tanenbaum’s new Halloween Fact Sheet.

In Friendship,
Mark Fowler
Deputy CEO, Tanenbaum

Photo: Franki Emerson

An Autumn Festival of Lights https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2019/10/festival-of-lights/ Wed, 02 Oct 2019 13:30:08 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=16957 Dear Friends,

This year Diwali, known as the festival of lights, will take place on October 27th. Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists around the world celebrate this New Year festival for a variety of different reasons.

As you may know, Diwali is an official holiday in a number of countries in South Asia and around the globe.

Consult our Diwali Fact Sheet to learn more about the festival and its potential workplace implications.

If your company is engaging in some activity around the holiday, please share with us on social media! We’d love the opportunity to let others know how you’re including religion in your company.

Warm regards,

Mark Fowler,
Deputy CEO



Anti-Semitism Is Something You’re Talking About A Lot https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2019/09/anti-semitism-survey/ Wed, 25 Sep 2019 16:25:26 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=16944 Most students start learning about the Holocaust in elementary school. Yet, anti-Semitic hate crimes are rising. What’s clear is that we don’t truly understand this form of bigotry. And it’s painfully apparent that fear and hatred of Jews are far from being a problem of the past.

At Tanenbaum, we were curious what our own community is thinking about anti-Semitism and whether this is a topic of discussion at your dinner tables. Your answers sometimes surprised us. For one thing, respondents across many faith and nonbeliever communities agreed on core issues. And for another, a majority of you are talking about anti-Semitism though a minority of you report that you’re prepared to do so.

So what did you say?  As part of our Combating Extremism campaign, we share our analysis of what our readers are thinking. Take a look.

And if you didn’t give us your feedback yet, we’d still like to hear from you. Please take 2 minutes and tell us what you think!

Join us in the hot seats! https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2019/09/comedy-2/ Fri, 20 Sep 2019 02:15:03 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=16925 Join us in the hot seats by the stage (or choose safer territory in the back) for a night of laughter at Comic Strip Live on October 3rd for Tanenbaum Takes a Night Off!

This year’s theme is Miscommunication Mishaps and the lineup includes Regina DeCicco, Greg Radin, Sasha Srbulj, DF Sweedler, and Holly Weiss. Hosted by Mike Rakosi, we know there will be bucketloads of humor and a few unrefined jokes to spice up the night.

Click here for your tickets, and check out the snapshots from last year’s show for a glimpse of the riotous night ahead!

The “Democratic Experiment” & Why Tonight’s Debates Matter https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2019/09/democratic-debates/ Wed, 11 Sep 2019 23:37:18 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=16892

Tonight, the top 10 Democratic presidential candidates for 2020 will face off, and that’s important. Tanenbaum is watching—and hoping—that they’ll address the bigotry and hate that leads to violent attacks on houses of worship, shootings that target people because of their race or religion, and the 17% percent increase in hate crimes. How will they each respond to rising extremism? We want to hear!

We’re not the only ones who believe that democratic debate matters in the battle against hate. Just listen to former Charlottesville Mayor, Michael Signer, as he shares his vision for healing in the days, months, and years after the Unite the Right rally. He makes strong connections, including why our “democratic experiment” can be a force for overcoming hate.

It’s time for us all to participate in our democracy by learning about the candidates in both parties, selecting the best leaders, and then by holding them accountable. Together, we can counter extremism, and build a more peaceful country.

Joyce S. Duebsky
Tanenbaum CEO

P.S. Join us in reflecting on the ways your own community did or would respond if the Unite the Right rally came to you.

Remembering & Understanding 9/11 https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2019/09/remembering-9-11/ Wed, 11 Sep 2019 00:35:35 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=16880

Friends –

In the days following September 11, 2001, our nation experienced an outpouring of support, generosity, and empathy from our neighbors and every corner of the globe. Today, there are children for whom September 11th is a moment only experienced through textbooks. But, for many of us, it is still a time to remember the 3,000+ lives lost and to reflect on how our way of life has changed.

I still remember when I could go to a meeting in NYC and not having to go through security. A time when we were not worried about terrorism; when Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and Sikh hate crimes were far less out in the open.

September 11th marked a time of change and challenges with which we, as a nation, are still grappling. That’s why it’s important to remember, to learn from that seminal moment, and to move forward together.

I’m proud that Tanenbaum can be a resource as we navigate emerging extremism and hate. For those who still care about the facts, for educators, clergy and community leaders, we offer some easy-to-use materials, including:

  • Our September 11 Fact Sheet is an easy-to-use resource highlighting the facts and history of 9/11.
  • To understand terrorism, we offer our Talking Terrorism Fact Sheet for more information about global terrorism, as well as our White Supremacy fact sheet (because more Americans have died at the hands of white domestic terrorists since 2001 than any other type of terrorist attack in our country).

With a commitment to truth and justice,