Sunday, September 14, 2008

Interfaith Iftar in Philadelphia

This is the third year that I have participated in an interfaith Iftar celebration here in Philadelphia. The idea sprung from a women's discussion group I started a few years earlier. Although the initial topics discussed revolved around race and ethnicity dentity formation, discussions often turned to interfaith issues. Regardless of the specific subject matter of the discussions, issues of contention always surrounded misconceptions, assumptions and lack of knowledge of the various spiritual tranditons represented. We initially organized an interfaith Lenten supper at a local Eastern Orthodox Church which took place on the Sunday of Forgiveness. We subsequently organized similar interfaith suppoers during Ramadan and Yom Kippur.

This year's Iftar was particularly powerful, as the focus was on forgiveness - from God, from each other and from ourselves!

Some of the things that emerged from discussions are:
  • Forgiving oneself is the first step to forgiving others
  • Open and honest communication is essential to asking and granting forgiveness
  • Forgiveness comes from inner peace, resulting from knoledge and acknowledgement of the inner self
  • Thhe Qu'ran calls uon people to know themselves and transform themselves before doing so with others.
Forgiveness and acceptance are fundamental tenants of Islam, Judaism and Christianity (as well as other non-Abramic faiths). Significant markers throughout our spiritual calendars are ideal moments to reflect on forgiveness in our own lives, as well as a time to put that forgiveness into action. A vital component to forgiveness is learning of each other's spiritual experiences and traditions. So, in that spirit, I would like to pose the following questions to the readers and other contributors to this blog:

What is the importance for you of sharing your experienced of faith with others?

In Peace,
Kathrin was born in Bad Hersfeld, Hessen, Germany in 1980. Kathrin currently works as a freelance grant writer and presents on cultural diversity and transnational race relations. She is passionate about strengthening relationships between Afro German and Black German communities in the United States and Germany, as well as facilitating cooperation and support among other groups who are working to eradicate racism and improve opportunities for all People of Color. She also works as a translator, project coordinator and development officer for the Black German Cultural Society, Inc., and currently serves on their Board of Directors. Kathrin speaks fluent German, loves to read, spend time with her family and friends, and travel.


Destitute Rebel said...

Kathrin first of all welcome to the Ramadan Kareem blog, it is great to read your experiences.

I love to share and learn about faith, it is sometimes enlightning to know about the faith of others and well as be able to explain your beliefs to others.

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Welcome Kathrin!

Your presence here at RK blog is highly appreciated :)