Prophet Muhammad’s Rarely-Known Decree To the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem

The Armenian Patriarchate was established in Jerusalem almost 2,000 years ago. Many Armenians had gone on pilgrimage to Jerusalem after converting to Christianity in 301 AD. They had built a part of Sourp Hagop Convent in 420 AD. By the sixth Century, Armenians had constructed 66 religious institutions in Jerusalem.

In 626 AD, the Armenian Patriarch Apraham of Jerusalem, seeing the looming dangers of Islamic expansion and conquest, went to the Holy Islamic city of Mecca with a delegation of 40 prominent Armenians to meet with Prophet Muhammad to secure his protection.

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Islam – The Concept of Jihad: Meaning and Purposes

English Department, Al-Azhar ObservatoryEver since 9/11, the word “Jihad” has come to be one of the most well-known concepts to non-Muslims. Jihad is considered the main concept that radical groups adopt as a core ideology. It is true that “Jihad” is a genuine Islamic concept that cannot be negated or ignored, yet the point to be considered now shall be “how to correctly understand Jihad”. In fact, understanding the true meaning of Jihad relies much on realising its purposes as understood from the basic sources of Islam. This is the crucial point that reveals the reality of the concept and guides us where to stand regarding this term.
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Buddhism: The Paradox of Prayer

Lord BuddhaDo Zen Buddhists Pray? This question was raised recently among Zen teachers online when someone in a drought-affected area requested that others join in a collective effort “beseeching the blessing of rain in any way that speaks to you.” The ensuing online conversation made it clear that there is no “party line” regarding prayer. One teacher called prayer “well meaning superstition,” akin to rubbing crystals or sacrificing goats; however, the same person later confessed to praying hard when his child was critically ill.
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Back Your neighbour

Back Your NeighbourA key value in all religions is the Golden Rule. Another important value in religions – and in interfaith activity – is hospitality to the stranger. The government is withdrawing support services for people living in our communities who have fled war and persecution, including financial support and trauma counselling from victims of torture. Back your neighbour asks you to sign a petition for them, for when we back our neighbours, they give back.
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The Israel Folau crowdfunding saga is not about freedom of religion

Israel Folau
Photo: Israel Folau chose to prioritise his conscience over his career. (AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

Dr Simon Longstaff of The Ethics Centre writes about Israel Folau and the fallout from his sacking and the crowdfunding saga. Dr Simon Longstaff says, inter-alia, Religious freedom comes in four basic forms: freedom of belief, freedom of worship, freedom to act in good conscience (which includes freedom from coercion in matters of religion) and finally freedom to proselytise (which includes the right to educate one’s children in the faith). Folau’s case involves the third and fourth of these freedoms.

What Folau believes and how he worships have not been challenged. Rather, he has been sanctioned for what he has done and said — not as a believer, but in his role as an elite rugby player representing Australia. However, can the two roles of “believer” and “contracted player” be so easily separated? That is the question at the heart of this issue.

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Top 10 books about cults

Aum Shinrikyo CultThe word “cult” is used only by outsiders. There is nothing extreme or ridiculous about the Truth if you believe it. In a world of secularity and cynicism we are drawn to the stories of those who live and die with such utter conviction, just as we wonder at how credulous they can be. We feel superior because we believe we could never be drawn in so completely. But the best books about cults lead us, as readers, into understanding just how easily it could happen.
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Pope Francis declares ‘climate emergency’ and urges action

Pope Francis enters Casino IV

Pope Francis has declared a global “climate emergency”, warning of the dangers of global heating and that a failure to act urgently to reduce greenhouse gases would be “a brutal act of injustice toward the poor and future generations”.

He also endorsed the 1.5C limit on temperature rises that some countries are now aiming for, referring to warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of “catastrophic” effects if we crossed such a threshold. He said a “radical energy transition” would be needed to stay within that limit, and urged young people and businesses to take a leading role.

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Multifaith Service – World Refugee Day

United Nations LogoShepparton Interfaith Network – in collaboration with the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District – will conduct a Multifaith Service for World Refugee Day at St Brendan’s Church on Thursday 20 June at 6pm.
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Refugee Week in Shepparton, 2019

Refugee Week LogoRefugee Week 2019 will be celebrated from Sunday June 16 up to Saturday June 22, 2019. In observance of Refugee Week, the Shepparton Interfaith Network in collaboration with Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District will present a Multifaith Service at St Brendan’s Church, Shepparton on 20 June, at 6:00pm. The theme for the service is “The Refugee in Australia“.
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Movie Night: Refugee Week

Human flow - the journey of migrationHuman Flow is a 2017 German documentary film co-produced and directed by Ai Weiwei about the current global refugee crisis. In the film the viewer is taken to over 20 countries to understand both the scale and the personal impact of this massive human migration. It was shot using various technologies, including drones, cameras and iPhones. As part of Shepparton’s Refugee Week observance, Human Flow will be screened for Free at Village Cinemas on 19 June 2019.

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Sorry Day and Sunset Ceremony, Shepparton, 2019

Aunty Faye Lynham at Monash Park SheppartonA large crowd assembled at Monash Park to observe – in what was at times inclement weather – the 2019 Sorry Day commemoration by the Shepparton Region Reconciliation Group. Aunty Faye Lynham – one of the stolen generations – was the guest of honour. National Sorry Day marks the day the Bringing Them Home report was tabled in Federal Parliament.
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What Mindfulness Is (Not)

The BuddhaEvery moment of consciousness is accompanied by an emotional response, and this is where mindfulness is properly situated on the Buddhist maps of experience. Mindfulness is a quality of emotional response, a particular intentional stance and attitude toward the object of experience that shapes and textures how it is experienced by consciousness.

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Multifaith Prayer Service – Grounded in Truth

Grounded in TruthThe theme of National Reconciliation Week 2019 is “Grounded in Truth”, walk together with courage. Many religions have much to say about truth, and truth for our indigenous brothers and sisters is expressed in connection to Country. Shepparton Interfaith Network in collaboration with St Mary’s Church Mooroopna will conduct multifaith prayers for National Reconciliation Week in Mooroopna on Monday 3 June.

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Grounded in Truth – Having the Conversations

Shepparton Region Reconciliation Group and La Trobe University invite you to join us as we explore how we can walk together with courage. Truth-telling about Australia’s colonial history is a fundamental to this. So let’s have the conversations.

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Sorry Day, Shepparton, 2019



National Sorry Day is an Australia-wide observance held on May 26 each year when the Bringing Them Home Report was tabled in the Federal Parliament. This day gives people the chance to come together and share the steps towards healing for the Stolen Generations, their families and communities. A Sorry Day observance will be held at Monash Park Shepparton, on Monday, May 27, 2019 commencing at 10:15am

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Buddhism: Loving-Kindness Practice for Online Dating

online dating via textThe Beatles sang “All You Need is Love.” But we who swim in circles in the wacky waters of online dating beg to differ. Besides love, we also need some wisdom to help us navigate the truths and false stories (about ourselves and others) that come to the surface as we search for authentic connection in this extremely artificial environment.
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