religious diplomacy

The meeting of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, with influential Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr is an important step towards reaching out to the leadership in Iraq. It is the second such trip in as many months for Al Sadr, who commands a huge following among Iraq’s urban population.

Pope Francis with Enrique Peña Nieto

An exploration of the Catholic Church's faith diplomacy and its impact on international relations.

An increasing number of organizations have in recent years begun to advocate collaboration with religious leaders in order to resolve conflicts. Former French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and the Sant’Egidio community signed an unusual agreement on April 18. The convention explicitly recognized their “long-term collaboration” in various fields including interreligious dialogue, conflict prevention and the hosting of refugees.

As Imam Omar Shaheed looked out at the 150 people who packed the Columbia Museum of Art’s auditorium Sunday night, he was struck by one thing. “We’re all different religions, but we have a humanity,” he said. “That’s really standing out.” Shaheed, imam at Masjid as-Salaam in Columbia, was part of the panel at “Dinner and Dialogue: Understanding Islam.” The discussion that was part of the event answered questions about the tenets of Islam, the most common misconceptions about the religion and the similarities between Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

The ambassadors of countries with embassies in Turkey attended an iftar (fast-breaking) dinner Tuesday evening hosted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in the capital Ankara. [...] Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to Turkey, whose country spearheaded efforts to isolate Qatar over what it calls support for extremists, was seated near Qatari Ambassador as both envoys briefly engaged in a warm conversation, according to a journalist from Hürriyet daily who attended the dinner.

The day before President Trump met with Pope Francis, Cardinal Peter Turkson juxtaposed the president’s speech in Saudi Arabia with what the Pope said in Egypt. Taking to Twitter, he wrote: “Pope Francis & Pres Trump reach out to Islam-world to exorcise it of [religious violence]. One offers peace of dialogue, the other security of arms.” [...] Yet the Ghanaian cardinal, Francis’ chief “minister” for matters of peace, suggesting that the “peace of dialogue” is the path to be preferred over the “security of arms.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has declined a request to host an event to mark Islam's holy month of Ramadan, two U.S. officials said, apparently breaking with a bipartisan tradition in place with few exceptions for nearly 20 years. Members of Congress, Muslim civil society and community leaders, diplomats from Muslim countries and senior U.S. officials usually attend the State Department Ramadan event, a symbol of the U.S. government's diplomatic efforts with Muslim countries and people.

Israel has announced a series of goodwill gestures for Palestinians ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan a day after it warned Gaza's already meager electricity supply could be further reduced following a spat between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas. Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai of the Israeli defense body said in a statement Friday the goodwill measures include access for 100 Gaza residents to attend prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem each Friday throughout Ramadan. West Bank crossings will open longer it also said.

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