Monday, May 25, 2009

Presentation on Islam to Students of Roman Catholic Perspectives of Other Religions

On May 23, 2009 I was invited by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary to talk about Islam to adult students learning more about their faith. This particular session explored the Roman Catholic Church's (RCC) view of other religions. The objective of the class was to review what the RCC understands as the role of non-Christian religions in what Christians might call God's plan of salvation. The discussion led to the recognition of the gifts of the various religions and the necessity to learn about and share these gifts; hence, the necessity of dialogue.

Their instructor for the day, Anna Tremblay, felt they could best learn about other religions from practitioners of the religion and offered them the opportunity to learn about Islam from a Muslim.

As we were discussing the commonality between Christianity and Islam, the following verse of the Quran came to mind:

“God has laid down for you the same way of life and belief that He had set out to Noah, and that We have enjoined for you, and that We have bequeathed to Abraham, Moses, and Jesus so that you will establish the faith, and not divide amongst yourself.” (42:13)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Western Canada High School visits Calgary Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre

On May 21, 2009 Ms. Shelley Buckingham and students from the World Religions class of Western Canada High School came to visit the Calgary Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre.

World Religions introduces students to an exploration of religions around the world: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism. This course provides students with an awareness of the nature, place and function of religions. Using research and inquiry skills, students explore the history and contemporary manifestations of religion.

This was the final tour of the 2008-2009 academic year for the Canadian Centre for Diversity's "Discover Religious Diversity: Full day guided outing" program.

Over the past three years, it has been a delight to host and engage with over 500 students through this program. We have had some great discussions about the diversity that exists in the Muslim community. I have also had the opportunity to share with the students what my personal experience of growing up in Calgary as a Muslim of South Asian culture.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bahái Community hosts the InterFaith Network of Calgary

The next meeting of the IFNC for this year will be hosted by Calgary's Bahái community on Thursday, May 28 2009 at 7:30pm. Please RSVP by May 22nd.

We have been invited to share in a Devotional gathering.

"The event we will be holding is what we call a Neighborhood Devotional Gathering. Bahái's around the world host regular devotional gatherings in homes and in some cases community centers to infuse our neighborhoods and homes with the benefits of prayer. We read together Bahá'í writings and other scriptures and focus on creating an environment of unity and harmony. Prayer is a central element in all religious traditions and these grass roots level gatherings stress its universal nature."

Calgary InterFaith Network of Calgary (IFNC) is an informal and grassroots group of Calgarians, belonging to several faith traditions, who have come together to promote goodwill and mutual understanding.

We believe that this objective is best achieved by interaction and dialogue among the followers of different faiths.

This belief is based on our conviction that while the general tendency is to highlight the differences among different faiths, a deeper study would reveal that we have more in common than is generally believed.

We hope that through these gatherings, we will encourage mutual respect and peace in our community.

We meet once a month to discuss questions related to our personal spirituality and religious practice.

The venues of the gatherings rotate among the places of worship.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Canadian Council of Christians and Jews – Annual Spring Breakfast Dialogue

The Canadian Council of Christians and Jews – Alberta Region
Invites Clergy, Lay leaders and the Public to attend their:

Annual Spring Breakfast Dialogue

Understanding Scripture: Jewish and Christian Perspectives
- with a special look at Isaiah 53

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
8:30 to 10:15 a.m.
Calgary Jewish Centre

Kindly Reserve by Tuesday, May 19th
Tickets: $10.00; Students: $5.00 (Breakfast Included)


Rabbi Jordan Ofseyer (Beth Tzedec Congregation) was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1962 and has served as a Rabbi to several congregations in the USA. He has a Bachelor of Sacred Music, a Masters in Hebrew Literature and an Honorary Doctorate from JTS. Rabbi Ofseyer is a lecturer, author and regular panelist on American Religious Town Hall, a nationally televised weekly program on religious and social issues.

Dr. Paul Spilsbury (Ambrose University College) (BTh, MCS, PhD) is Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins, and Dean, Faculty of Theology at Ambrose University College, Calgary. A graduate of Cambridge University, his scholarship (including three books, numerous articles, essays, reviews and academic papers) covers the New Testament and Judaism in the Roman world, and has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Lord Beaverbrook High School visits Calgary Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre

On May 4, 2009 Ms. Nicole Cameron, Ms. Michelle Kuss-Hornby and students from the World Religions class (Gr. 11 and 12) came to visit the Calgary Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centre, as part of the Canadian Centre for Diversity's "Discover Religious Diversity: Full day guided outing" program.

I have had the opportunity to conduct numerous sessions for the Canadian Centre for Diversity. This session however was special for two reasons. First, many of the participants are classmates of my daughter, Nafeesa, who is a student at Lord Beaverbrook. The second is that a number of students are graduates of R. T. Alderman Junior High School. R. T. Alderman was the first school that I attended when I immigrated to Canada in 1975. I had the opportunity to share with the students what it was like to be the only visbile minority student in that school and what my personal experience has been as a Muslim of South Asian culture growing up in Calgary.

At the end of the tour, we presented to the students a copy of Dictionary of Islam and The Ismailis: An Illustrated History for their school library.

I am grateful once again to Kari Grain (Regional Program Coordinator for Calgary) for providing me this opportunity to participate.

The following is a description of the Canadian Centre for Diversity's "Discover Religious Diversity: Full Day Guided Outing" program from their website:

"Canada has a great diversity of faiths and religions but most of us are barely acquainted with them. So, in a single day, we take students to three houses of worship where they learn about the history, customs and traditions of each religion. Interactive questions and answer sessions are part of each visit and a brief concluding session led by Centre staff."