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Texas Muslims Are Redefining Multi-Faith Collaboration

This article originally appeared on Religion News Service

"'When we started, the goal was to bring people together by building relationships, breaking bread, by having dialogue and discussions, breaking down barriers through frank discussion,' said Ghani. Instead of talking about 'the Muslims,' he said, he wanted the conversation to be about 'Muslims — our neighbors, our fellow Americans.'”

"Minaret’s signature became its interfaith community events that promoted understanding through dialogue — and friendly competition. 'Competing in Goodness' challenges local mosques, churches and synagogues to outdo each other for fundraising and food bank collections. Last year the program gathered seven tons of canned goods. (Congregation Beth Yeshurun won.)"

"Noor Saleh, government relations coordinator for Minaret Foundation, said the group’s political activity is as dependent on dialogue — and acknowledgment of difference — as their community-building programs are. 'I have had really strong relationships with folks I never thought I’d have strong relationships with simply because they lay on an opposite political party than I do,' she said. 'I have begun to realize that we need to have these difficult conversations about common-ground issues so we are able to move forward.'"

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Ashoka insight

Worth highlighting from the article is that The Minaret Foundation is focusing on dialogue and engaging leaders who are intentionally diverse in spiritual and democratic values to advance topics that are of common interest to everyone involved such as child welfare, food security, and religious freedom. We see this as an important way of co-creating new initiatives that make space for different experiences and perspectives.


Questions to deepen the reflection:

How might it be useful to collaborate with our local multi-faith leaders to address our shared challenges?

What else might need to happen before people are ready to be in the same room to have the difficult conversations?  


Read more stories amplified through the Spiritual Changemakers Initiative here.