Interfaith Encounter Association (IEA)

The IEA works to promote real coexistence and human peace in the Holy Land and the Middle East through interactive inter-religious dialogue. We believe that, rather than being the cause of the problem; religion can and should be a source of solution for conflicts in the region and beyond. We do not believe in blending all traditions into one undifferentiated group, but in providing a table where all can come and sit in safety and ease, while being fully who they are in their respective religions
Sep 8, 2014

Two encounters of the Jerusalem-Bethlehem U. group

Jerusalem-Bethlehem U. YIE group – 6.6.14

On Friday, June 6th 2014 we met for the first time of the renewing Jerusalem-Bethlehem group. We met at the Austrian Hospice in the Old City of Jerusalem on a busy Friday.

We had coffee together and got to know each other. Most of the group includes young women, except for Rahhal – the Muslim coordinator. Acquaintance was pleasant and interesting.  Participants asked each other about Holidays that passed and approaching – Jewish Shavu'ot and Christian Pentecost. We also spoke a bit about future plans for the group and coming encounters. The encounter was moving and arose good expectation.

 

July 10th 2014

On the 10th of July we held the second encounter of the renewing Jerusalem-Bethlehem Youth Interfaith Encounter group, a group that is becoming a group of young women.

At the request of the Bethlehem participants, we visited the campus of the Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus. We went between the faculties, saw the wonderful views one can see from the campus, visited the synagogue and the mosque of the university and admired the view of the Old City.

Then we sat down at the café of Meirsdorf House, for a conversation about Jerusalem. During our conversation the sirens went off, so we had some experience of the war that is going on outside. But I think it wasn't only me who felt that we are in a pleasant bubble of sisterhood, friendship and peace, despite the events outside. With the hope that the next encounter will be held in a calmer atmosphere we fare welled.

Links:

Aug 7, 2014

Jerusalem - encounter on 25 May 2014

Bingo game 1
Bingo game 1

The encounter was divided into three parts:

First we held a bingo game of names: each student wrote his/her name on the board and each one chose nine names for their personal board. Then we played the bingo game.

In the second part the school choir sang, in Hebrew and Arabic, the song of Aric Einstein "I and you will change the world", and we all joined singing.

The last part of the encounter was dedicated to Jerusalem. The kids were divided into working groups working on crossword puzzles about sites in Jerusalem, quizzes about what we know about Jerusalem and how many words can we make of the word Jerusalem and a jigsaw puzzle with a picture of Jerusalem.

Bingo game 2
Bingo game 2
Singing
Singing
Working in groups
Working in groups

Links:

Jun 11, 2014

Two encounters on Economics in different Faiths

Circle of Light & Hope, 5th February 2014, Everest Hotel, Beit Jala; 12 Participants

 

Topic: Economics in different faiths

 

As economy and financial topics were concerns of the people at all time, also religions deal with that topic. In Islam, the economy is very regulated by the Koran and other religious books. For instance, gambling is strictly forbidden.

Many banks in the Islamic world apply the religious rules on their business. These banks usually don't demand the money which they lend back, but they will be participating in your business. On the other hand, if people invest in Islamic banks they will not get a constant return, but a return depending on how the income of the bank was.

One of the five pillars of Islam is charity, every Muslim has to give at least 10% of his earnings for charity. Many companies have an account for these purposes.

The torah is not so strict as the Islamic economy rules, but gambling is also prohibited. There is also a discussion, if the community has to look for its (poor) members or everyone is responsible for himself. 

Christianity do not really have laws regulating the economy. The bible and other religious literature are dealing with the topic of ethics in economy. One example is the story of Jesus banishing salesmen from the Temple.

There had been times, when the western church prohibited giving loans to other people. At this time European Jews started to advance money. In contrast, the crusaders have been the biggest bankers in the Holy Land.

As Judaism also the Christianity believe that poverty will be on earth forever and this problem will not be solved.

Dealing with this topic one finds two basic criticisms on how religions deal with topics on economy:

  1. The faith is capitalistic and against regulations.
  2. The faith is socialistic and too dominant.One reason for this opinions is that private property is problematic if you consider religious literature of all faiths, because basically everything belongs to God. In Koran there is a phrase that you should not store gold & silver at home.As there is a sentence in the Torah that religious courts could force inhabitants of a city to pay for the defense of their city. Also today, there is a discussion, if this sentence is applicable on expenses for infrastructure. 

 

 

Circle of Light & Hope, 5th March 2014, Everest Hotel, Beit Jala; 9 Participants

Topic: Economics in different faiths, part 2

Last time we started to discuss the huge field of economics in religion. As we talked last time about Islamic banks, the question appeared if Islamic banks also serve Christians and members of other Islamic branches, as there usually each branch has its own banks. The answer is, that it depends on the clerk, who is serving the costumer, but usually they are treated the same way.Besides laws concerning loans, Islam and Judaism have rules regulating the selling process. In both faiths, people are not allowed the sell products with too high prices.Christianity doesn’t have such rules as the other two faiths mentioned before, but one has to respect the principle of honesty.As the issue of property is closely linked to theft, we finished this encounter with this topic.Compared to this, Islam has much stricter rules. The Koran has a phrase which allows to cut off the thieves hand, what was common at the time when it was written. Beside other regulations, the punishment depends on the amount which was stolen.

The bible also contains the principle of „eye for eye“, but this was interpreted by the rabbis of the Talmud to mean financial compensation.

Judaism has the principle that the theft have to give twice of the amount which he or she had stolen back to the previous owner. At this point Bob came up with a story about how he went to court in the US after the owner of the flat which he rented refused to give back the deposit. Eventually, the owner had to pay him twice the amount that she had wrongly taken.

Later a discussion about different branches of faiths started. Like Christianity and Judaism, also Islam has many branches and sects, the most known are the Sunni and Shiite. In all three religions many conflicts erupts along the central question who has the real faith.

With regard to real estate transactions, both faiths offer an option to the neighbor of the seller, in Islam also for the family of the seller with a right to get 10% off.

This brought us to the topic of loans in Judaism, where business loans and loans for people in need are treated differently for the purpose of charging interest. Unlike business loans, one cannot charge a person for a charity loan. 

In Judaism, the jubilee year had a special impact on the ownership of the Land of Israel. Every fiftieth year the land felt back to its previews owner. However, this rule is not applied today.

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