Interfaith and Intra-faith Dialogue

Building Bridges: Global Peacebuilding Efforts by Prof. Dr. Patrice Brodeur

“Building Bridges: Global Peacebuilding Efforts”
Prof. Dr. Patrice Brodeur (KAICIID Senior Adviser)

International Conference on Cohesive Societies (ICCS), Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, June 21, 2019


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Lang Dulay: T’boli’s T’nalak Master Weaver

Just a few years ago, wings of circumstances inadvertently brought me along with a small band of dedicated field educators to the inauguration of the unprecedentedly culturally sensitive T’boli Senior High School program in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. Thereafter, we proceeded to the nearby Sitio Tukolefa, Barangay Lamdalag.

In particular, we went to the Manlilikha ng Bayan Center to pay respects to the late Lang S. Dulay, the T’nalak Master Weaver and National Living Treasure Awardee, who passed away exactly a month ago then.

Starting with the pounding and stripping of the abaca stems to produce fibers and make them even thinner by coaxing, to the manual dying of the strands and meticulously arranging them on a bamboo frame, and to the month-long backbreaking weaving process, T’nalak fabric is indeed a product of love and passion.
T’nalak is undoubtedly woven by the passionate hands of a fervent lover who is captivated by the charming countenance of beauty, enamored by the enticing glances of arts, and enthralled by the warm embrace of craftsmanship. It is a lasting canvas of Beauty, the Beautiful and the Beautiful-lover.

Lang Dulay is the Dreamer of not only the more than a hundred T’nalak designs, but also of the more important design to preserve her people’s ethnic identity and to pass on the cultural heritage to the generations to come.

She is an eloquent interlocutor with her people about the simultaneous processes of globalization and localization, of homogenization and heterogenization, of fusion and fragmentation. As she weaves, she is most expressively dialoguing; engaging in the perennial dialogue between the logos of tradition and that of post-modernity; between the logos of preservation and that of adaptation; between the logos of isolation and that of integration.

Like a translator who serves as a cultural bridge between the original (text) language and the target (translation) language, the late Master Weaver is a cultural bridge between historical past and the fast-changing future of the T’boli tribe.

As a cultural bridge, her litany is weaving; her voice is her nimble hands; her slogan is silence and concentration; her banner is the roll of T’nalak; and her hymn is the praise for immortality and transcendence.

After bidding farewell to the Center’s attendants before noontime as I had to catch my flight for Metro Manila via Davao City, an adjacent old mosque caught my attention. I asked permission from a young man sitting in front of a small store for me to take a picture of the aging house of worship. And I learned from Faisal Dulay, a Muslim great grandchild of the late Dreamweaver and T’boli icon, that their clan members, numbering around two hundred, who peacefully live side by side in Sitio Tukolefa are followers of different faiths – Catholicism, Protestantism and Islam.

As I was on board the aircraft, I had one more realization: Lang Dulay’s bamboo-built Center is also a school of a parallel living tradition – the ideal tradition of religious tolerance, peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding.

Categories: Cultural Heritage, Interfaith and Intra-faith Dialogue, Mindanao, Travel, Vlogging | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Philosophy of Religion – In Amazon Now!

Author: Muhammad Taqi Ja’fari
Translator: Mansoor Limba
Pages: 464
eBook Price: $5.994
The one-volume encyclopedia concisely, yet profoundly, deals with such subjects as definition of religion (essentialist, psychological-sociological, utilitarian-moralist, etc.), scope of religion, scope of jurisprudence, historical roots of secularism, science and religion, physics and metaphysics, and religious pluralism by meticulously examining the pertinent views of a wide array of Muslim and Western philosophers including, but not limited to, Aston, Geisler, Spencer, Muller, Bonhoeffer, Ellis, Spengler, Tylor, D’Holbach, Santayana, Otto, Cassirer, Sartre, Dewey, Oxford, Jastrow, William James, Jung, Herder, Schleiermacher, Feuerbach, Kaufmann, Samuel King, Goldziher, Rainach, Rupele, Frazer, Koestenbaum, Freud, Bultmann, Durkheim, Feaver, Jefferson, Barth, Ritschl, Tillich, Martin, Whitehead, and Johnson.Excerpt of the Book:

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Mergrande Marauders in Jakarta

Look, who are in the picture? Yes. Mergrande Marauders and other KAICIID International Fellows together with KAICIID Advisor Dr. Syamsuddin.

Since these marauders are Anas-trained peace provocateurs, you can already expect what troubles are in store for this regional workshop on violent extremism and religious education in Southeast Asia.

Not in the photo is the queen provocateur, Wiwin Siti Aminah Rohmawati

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Interfaith and Intercommunal Practices: The Case of Ateneo de Davao’s Al Qalam Institute

MasterPeace Leadership Summit:
Theme: “Filipino Youth at the Forefront of a Peaceful Future”
Organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Sept 29-Oct 1, 2017, Crown Regency Hotel, Davao City, Philippines

Presentation Outline:
Interfaith Dialogue
University Vision-Mission
Al Qalam Institute
University’s 4 Main Thrusts
Future Trajectories
Concluding Remarks

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An All-embracing Room

In my recent trip to Sri Lanka, there was really a sense of relief to get a connecting flight that would not pass by the overly congested NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) in Manila.


As I would routinely do in any transit airport, when I was in Changi Airport (Singapore) en route to Colombo, I started to perform my ‘rituals’ – the three (3) P’s: (1) picture, (2) purchase, and (3) prayer, in reverse order.

After the performance of the two rituals, I roamed around the airport to snap pictures, particularly around the airport’s Enchanted Garden.

Prior to that, I purchased two pieces of magnetic souvenir items for the refrigerator back home.

As soon as I entered the airport, the first thing I did was to look for the prayer room. As I could not find any “Muslim prayer room” sign, I ventured to ask from an airport staff, who indicated a particular direction.

When I went there, what I found was “Multi-religion Prayer Room.” I hesitantly entered the room, and the first thing I noticed was the ablution area for gents. Eureka!

The beauty of openness which this room embodies inevitably brought to my mind the Mosque in Madinah during the time of the Prophet.

During the 9th Year After Hijrah (a year after the Fall of Makkah), which was known as the Year of Deputations on account of the delegates around the Arabian Peninsula visiting Madinah in order to embrace Islam or pay jizyah (tax paid by non-Muslim citizens of the Islamic state), a delegation of Christians from Najran (border between Hijaz and Yemen) came to discuss with the Prophet. (See “Tarikh al-Ya’qubi,” vol. 2, p. 66)

As recorded in “Sirah al-Halabi” (vol. 3, p. 239) and other sources, the Christian delegation was entertained in the mosque and when their time for prayer set in, they were granted the full permission to offer their prayers right there.

After I offered my prayer in that all-embracing room of the airport, little did I know that I would witness a more fascinating beauty of openness and tolerance in the heart of Colombo – a mosque and a church attached to one another for almost a century now.

(An excerpt from my upcoming book, COMBO TRIP TO COLOMBO)

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Taqrib, Not Takfir: The Way to Rediscover

(A modified version of a reaction to the presentation “Intra-Religious Dialogue: How a Faith Tradition Can Rediscover Its Unity” by Felix Körner, SJ, PhD, Pakighinabi Conversation Series, Ateneo de Davao University, Davao City, Philippines, August 30, 2017. Fr. Körner, a German Jesuit priest, holds two doctorates in Islamic Studies and Catholic Dogmatics. Affiliated to the Rome-based Pontifical Gregorian University, and a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue’s “Commission for Relations with Muslims,” the lead discussant lectures on the Catholic faith, intra-Christian dialogue, and Muslim-Christian relations.)

At the outset, let me greet all of you – including the awake, the sleepy and the sleeping ones – with the greetings of peace: Salamun ‘alaykum! I am Mansoor Limba, your brother in faith and/or humanity…

Considering the very short time allotted, I shall concisely describe what I observe to be the trend of every faith tradition, and then I will cite Qur’anic passages that somehow give a hint on this trend. I will proceed on attempting to make a conceptual clarification of the word ‘unity’. Thereafter, I will cite three cases of efforts toward Islamic proximity (taqrib). Then I will make my concluding remarks.

Trend of Every Faith Tradition

I hope that all of you have no qualms in agreeing with me that true to all faith traditions, during the early period of each faith tradition, the doctrines and practices were simple and uncomplicated, while the original guide or guides were present, guiding the community of believers.

At a later period, the doctrines and practices would tend to become complicated, with the coming of new circumstances, followers, and questions. You can add to that the fact that during the same time, the original guide or guides were no more present.

The early period may be described in every faith tradition as an ideal period on account of the absence of differences. On the other hand, the later period may be described as a period challenge or challenges due to the then emerging differences and conflicts.

Qur’anic Citations

Making a hint on both periods, some Qur’anic passages, such as those below, can be cited:

“Indeed this community of yours is one community, and I am your Lord. So worship Me.” (21:92)

“The faithful are indeed brothers.” (49:10)

“Hold fast, all together, to Allah’s cord, and do not be divided.” (3:103)

“And do not be like those who were divided [into sects] and started discord.” (3:105)

“O you who have faith! Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those vested with authority among you. And if you dispute concerning anything, refer it to Allah and the Apostle, if you have faith in Allah and the Last Day. That is better and more favorable in outcome.” (4:59)

Conceptual Clarification of ‘Unity’

The title of this Conversation is “Intra-Religious Dialogue: How a Faith Tradition Can Rediscover Its Unity.” As you may agree, a key term here is ‘unity,’ which requires conceptual clarification; otherwise, we will commit the same mistake of the anecdotal four blind men – in the poetry of Hafiz – who claim to know what elephant is, whereas in reality, each of them only touched an elephant’s body part.

When we talk about Islamic unity, we actually mean any of the following conceptions: (1) homogenization, (2) heterogeneity, and (3) proximity.

In homogenization, the way to attain the unity of the Muslim ummah (community) is to homogenize all Muslim schools of thought; to unify the Islamic school of thought. The outcome of this approach to unity is takfir or to declare other Muslims as unbelievers (kafir) and, therefore, as apostates (murtaddin) – “whose blood is ought to be shed”.

Another way to Islamic unity is ‘heterogeneity’ in which we assume that all these Muslim schools of thought are absolutely correct. The outcome of this approach is, in my view, something that borders on hypocrisy (nifaq).

The third way to achieve unity among the Muslims, which in my opinion, is the viable and reasonable one, is proximity or taqrib. Under this conception of unity, there is the attempt at exploring common grounds as guided by mutual recognition and respect among the various Muslim schools of thought.

Efforts Toward Proximity (taqrib)

And in recent years there have been many efforts along this line. One case was the long correspondence between a Sunni and a Shi‘ah scholar, namely, Shaykh Salim Bisri, the Rector (Mufti) of Al-Azhar University, Egypt, and Sayyid ‘Abd al-Husayn Sharafuddin al-Musawi of Lebanon. The outcome of this effort was the publication of their series of correspondence in book form under the title Al-Muraja‘at (“The Correspondence”). The good news is that its English rendition is available online for free.

Subsequent to this correspondence was the interaction between two equally prominent Sunni and Shi‘ah Muslim scholars at the time, namely, Shaykh Mahmud Shaltut, the Mufti of Al-Azhar University, Egypt, and Sayyid Husayn Burujirdi of Iran. The two outcomes of this effort by these two religious giants in the then Muslim world were Shaykh Shaltut’s fatwa (religious edict) recognizing Shi‘ah Ithna Ash‘ari jurisprudence as a valid Islamic jurisprudence, and the creation of World Forum for the Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought (Dar al-Taqrib bayn al-Madhahib al-Islamiyyah).

A third and relatively recent case is the Amman Message, which fortunately was mentioned by Fr. Felix in his presentation. The ‘Amman Message’ started as a detailed statement released on the eve of the 27th of Ramadan 1425 AH / 9th November 2004 by H.M. King Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It significantly contains three (3) questions posed to 24 of the most senior Muslim scholars from around the world (including Shaykh al-Azhar of Egypt, Ayatullah Sistani of Iran and Shaykh Qaradawi of Qatar): (1) Who is a Muslim? (2) Is it permissible to declare someone an apostate (takfir)? (3) Who has the right to undertake issuing fatwas (legal rulings)?

Three important points are highlighted in the document: (1) Whosoever is an adherent to one of the four Sunni schools (madhahib) of Muslim jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi‘i, and Hanbali), the two Shi‘ah schools of Muslim jurisprudence (Ja‘fari and Zaydi), the Ibadi school of Muslim jurisprudence and the Thahiri school of Muslim jurisprudence, is a Muslim. (2) There exists more in common between the various schools of Muslim jurisprudence than there is difference between them. (3) Acknowledgement of the schools of Muslim jurisprudence (madhahib) within Islam means adhering to a fundamental methodology in the issuance of fatwas.


In conclusion, rather than takfir, taqrib is the way to rediscover Muslim unity, and a simple step viable to you and I at this point in time is the endorsement of the Amman Message ( In doing so, you will only spend a minute indicating your name, email, position, and word of endorsement (…).

In case a minute is still too long for you, just Like and Share Amman Message’s official Facebook page ( Doing so is just as fast as saying, “Yes to TAQRIB, No to TAKFIR!”

Thank you!

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“Light Moments in Vienna” Published Today!


Published today!

Mansoor Limba, “Light Moments in Vienna” (Smashwords and Amazon, 2017), $2.99.

Published in both platforms, the book contains selected anecdotes of my personal experience while undergoing KAICIID fellowship training in interreligious and intercultural dialogue in Vienna, Austria.

Get you copy now and be part of that journey!


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