ICCJ’s International Abrahamic Forum (IAF) at the Conference in Budapest

At this year’s ICCJ conference in Budapest/Hungary joining the members of the larger ICCJ, was the new 6-member Steering Committee of the IAF, a trilateral Jewish-Christian-Muslim group devoted to expanding the ideals of the ICCJ beyond its primary mandate of bilateral dialogue between Christians and Jews.

Composed of equal numbers of Jews, Christians and Muslims, the IAF draws its members from 5 countries in three different continents. The committee chair is Reuven Firestone (USA) and the new IAF team includes Elena Dini (Italy), Heidi Hadsell (USA), Mohammad Hannan Hassan (Singapore), Frederek Musall (Germany), and Morteza Rezazadeh (Iran).

The IAF Steering Committee was involved in the planning of the Budapest meeting as part of its mandate to expand the religious conversation with Muslims, the second largest world religion and increasingly important part of our communities throughout the world.

The IAF led a plenary panel (see picture above) and participated in various other aspects of the program. The panel, which included members of the IAF and two Hungarian participants, Dr Klara Anwar and Dr. Marta Cserhati, was entitled “How Can I Find God in the Other?”

The IAF also organized a workshop for the conference, “Responsible Citizenship in Multi-Religious Societies: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Multi-Cultural Experiences.” Attendees were particularly interested in the situation of religious minorities in the Muslim world, and had a unique opportunity to engage with expert Muslim leaders deeply involved with interfaith relations in their home countries.

The extraordinary interest and the lively discussion at both the IAF panel and workshop demonstrated the importance of the IAF contribution to learning and activism in the often confusing and complex world of interreligious engagement. Participants in the Budapest meeting express a very keen interested in the spiritual aspects of our religious traditions. In addition to the usual Christian and Jewish meditative moments prepared for the program, Imam Morteza Rezazadeh of the IAF led a moving morning meditation during which he shared spiritual music from Iran, Persian poetry, and verses from the Qu’ran. 

Some pictorial impressions of the IAF activities at ICCJ's Budapest conference composed by Morteza Rezazadeh

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The IAF plans to offer these kinds of opportunities for members of the ICCJ on a regular basis as part of its mandate to expand the conversation, where appropriate, to include the increasingly important community of Muslims in the dialogue. We are in the process of rebuilding our web-component of the ICCJ Website and will welcome you to visit us soon!