Recognizing the great momentum created by the Global Faith Forum discussions in Dallas and Kansas City earlier this month, the Multi-Faith Neighbors Network (MFNN) held their third and final gathering in Washington, D.C. last week, which culminated in meals being packed for the needy in the local community.
The forum’s theme, “Unlikely,” referring to the unexpected alliance between the three major world faiths – Christian, Muslim and Jewish – is based on the premise that transformation begins with intentional relationships and developing deep bonds of mutual trust and respect with leaders of other faiths. Representative leaders from the Evangelical, Muslim, and Jewish faiths affirmed their commitment to addressing polarization and politicization within their own communities.
They also resolved to collectively break down barriers of fear between different faiths and further cultivate multi-faith relationships to build bridges of understanding and collaboration while maintaining their respective and distinct theologies and identities. “This type of gathering has never happened before, especially in the heart of the Bible Belt, but we believe it will be the starting point for change,” said Roberts, who served as program host and convener at Northwood Church in the Dallas suburb of Keller.
“Historically, Evangelicals have not been in this conversation. When Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers,’ that doesn’t mean just in our group; He was talking about the public square. Our hope and prayer are this Forum will open dialogue, build relationships and facilitate understanding, peace, and unity.”
The night began with songs and prayers from each faith, followed by an address from the newly appointed US Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, Ambassador Rashad Hussain.
“Oftentimes, faith leaders are more effective in doing this work than the government,” Hussain said. “You bring the credibility of knowing your congregations. The most powerful way to build bridges is a collaboration between government and civil society.”
H.E. Dr. Mohammad Al-Issa, Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL), introduced and gave an overview of the groundbreaking Makkah Declaration, which was conceived and created by the MWL in 2019.
Written by a consensus of more than 1,200 respected Muslim scholars, affirmed by over 5,000 Muslim theologians, and approved by Islamic leaders of 139 nations, the Charter of Makkah is considered the most important document of modern Islamic history. It encourages peaceful co-existence and ensures religious diversity and human rights for all people.