Scholars and Intellectuals Must Engage More in Interfaith Dialogue
By Anila Ali
Pictures by Anwar Khawaja
“In this age of globalization, scholars and intellectuals must engage more in interfaith dialogue,” Dr. Akbar Ahmed advised a gathering of interfaith leaders.
Dr. Akbar S. Ahmed made this observation while addressing a meeting of intellectuals and community leaders of all faiths hosted by Mr. Hamid Malik at the Hilton Irvine on December 17 . Many members of the Olive Tree Initiative, OTI, were also present to meet the renowned scholar.
Dr. Ahmed told the audience about the positive responses he received from the Christian and Jewish communities. He spoke of his book, Journey Into America, and remarked that no two religions are closer than Islam and Judaism. Dr. Akbar urged leaders present to bring communities together in harmony and peace. He stated that although the events in the ME have an impact on us, we must not allow them to overtake us. He recalled the day that Judea Pearl, the father of the slain journalist in Pakistan, approached him to start a Jewish-Muslim Interfaith Dialogue and since then it has blossomed into wonderful relationships of all faiths. They have planned interfaith iftars and many forums for open dialogue and the impact on interfaith relations has been significant.
“Muslim leaders of America must do more interfaith and this mode of dialogue must be strengthened,” said Dr. Akbar.
Among attendees were members from the Olive Tree Initiative of the University of Irvine, members of other faith communities, COPAA president and board members, and PL Publications President, Mr. Arif Mansuri.