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World Interfaith Harmony Week Breakfast seeks understanding by breaking bread

Scarritt Bennett
Scarritt Bennett
from left Aisha Lbhalla, Miriam Leibowitz, Rev. Jennifer Bailey

The World Interfaith Harmony Week was first proposed at the UN General Assembly on in 2010 by King Abdullah II of Jordan; it was unanimously adopted by the UN and has since been observed the first week of every February.

During this week we are called to challenge our intolerance, assumptions and rigidity of others and instead call for peace, mutual understanding and coming together on common grounds and shared values.

The World Interfaith Harmony Week is based on the pioneering work of the 2007 Common Word initiative. This initiative called for Muslim and Christian leaders to engage in a dialogue based on two common fundamental religious commandments; Love of God, and Love of the Neighbor. The two commandments are at the heart of the three monotheistic religions and provide the most solid theological ground possible.

On February 5, 2014 The Scarritt Bennett center hosted a World Interfaith Harmony Week Breakfast. This was the fourth year the center hosted a breakfast.. This year’s conversation was with women from different faith communities on how their spiritual journey has shaped their social justice efforts.

Panelists included Rev. Jennifer Bailey, a SNAP outreach coordinator with Community Food Advocates, Miriam Leibowitz, a reproductive freedom organizer with the ACLU-TN and Aisha Lbhalla, of The Muslim Women's Council.

The panelist detailed their passionate community work and how it is directly inspired by their faith. A recurring message of faith in God, social justice, advocacy, and charity inspired them to serve more than themselves but to contribute to the greater community.

“Bringing joy the heart of human beings, feeding the hungry, helping the afflicted, lightening the sorrow of the sorrowful, and removing the sufferings of the injured are the most excellent actions.” Prophet Mohamed (pbuh)

"Eat together and accept invitations because it builds good feelings among people and increases love between them." Prophet Mohamed (pbuh).

One thing stated was that we do not live in a vacuum; regardless of our religious affiliations, economic or social status we have interdependence among members of society. So we have an obligation to make it a healthy society, and to see that the needs of its members are addressed and not leave anyone to the wayside. When one part of the body is ill the rest of the body it is not immune.

The program concluded with encouraging all audience members to continue after World Interfaith Harmony Week to participate in or learn more about faith traditions, diversity and inclusion.

Panelist and audience dined on a wonderful breakfast prepared by the Scarritt Bennett chefs.

Scarritt-Bennett is a non-profit education, retreat and conference center, located in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee. The Center has strong commitment to promoting racial equality, cross-cultural understanding, the empowerment of women and spiritual renewal.

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