News / USA

Muslim, Jewish, Christian Friends Share Insights With Students

Three longtime colleagues of Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths, respectively - from left to right, Maher Hathout, Leonard Beerman and George Regas - recently shared their insights into religion with middle and high school students at Flintridge Preparat
Three longtime colleagues of Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths, respectively - from left to right, Maher Hathout, Leonard Beerman and George Regas - recently shared their insights into religion with middle and high school students at Flintridge Preparat

Three longtime colleagues of different faiths have forged bonds of friendship through decades of dialogue in interfaith forums. The three men, who are leaders in the Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities of Los Angeles, recently shared their insights into religion with middle and high school students. The students learned that the men respect their differences and celebrate what they have in common.

They have known each other and worked together for decades - Maher Hathout, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Southern California; Leonard Beerman, the founding rabbi of the Leo Baeck Temple, a Jewish synagogue; and the Reverend George Regas, retired rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California.

The students, from Flintridge Preparatory School, asked probing questions about violence inspired by religion. Rabbi Beerman told them that, sadly, evil is a part of religion's legacy, but that faith also plays a positive role in human development.

“It has brought comfort to the afflicted, it's brought courage to the weak, it's brought a sense of spirituality into personal lives,” said Beerman.

The students were interested in religion’s place in the world and in individual life, and its role in the Middle East, said Egyptian-born Maher Hathout.

"I notice that they are engaging in a very healthy way. They are not watering down issues. They are asking serious questions. But somehow it's coming from a background of openness and a touch of innocence,” said Hathout.

History teacher Michael Roffina said Flintridge Preparatory is a private institution, and teachers here are willing to discuss controversial topics like religion, something that does not happen often at public schools.

“A lot of schools might shy away from this because religion is such a hot-button topic. I also think that some schools would find it much more convenient to just have these three speak,” said Roffina.

But through two days of events, these students probed and interacted with the speakers.

Episcopal clergyman George Regas said he and his colleagues have worked together on interfaith projects for more than 30 years. He said the three share a friendship and a passion for social justice, something at the root of all of their traditions.

"It's not a very common thing that a Jew, a Muslim and a Christian could really be very much tied together over all those decades, and really care for each other and support each other, and differ with each other strongly, but with understanding and compassion,” said Regas.

The students learned something about religion, said 12th grader Vanessa Lieu.

“I think that all religion stems from a basic human conscience, and we can all relate to that,” said Lieu.

The interfaith dialogue delivered an important message, said student Brandt Rohde.

"I think it was, mostly just break down barriers, and everybody needs to work for peace, for acceptance and tolerance and peace,” said Rohde.

These students say the exchange gave them insight into the bonds of affection that can foster understanding across faiths.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs