Posts Tagged With: interfaith dialogue

“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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Forthcoming Publication: LIGHT MOMENTS IN VIENNA


The book features selected anecdotes of my personal experience while undergoing KAICIID fellowship training in interreligious and intercultural dialogue in Vienna, Austria.

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Super Rainbow in Vienna


MINDAVIEWS > MARGINALIA: Super Rainbow in Vienna

Mansoor L. Limba on December 2, 2016

VIENNA, AUSTRIA (MindaNews /02 December) – Most probably like you, when I was a child, seeing a rainbow would make me happy.  In the last week of May this year, I was unprecedentedly elated to see a different rainbow – a rainbow of diverse religions, cultures and countries.

It happened in Mergrande Beach Resort, Davao City during the orientation training for South and Southeast Asian Fellowship Program of Vienna-based KAICIID International Dialogue Centre. The two-week intensive training in interreligious and intercultural dialogues was attended by over 20 Fellows of diverse religious affiliations (Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism) from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka.

The one-year fellowship is an online and offline learning and training program that empowers institutions by providing capacity-building skills to select teachers. Aimed at facilitating dialogue encounters by giving these teachers the tools, experience, networks, and knowledge to pursue interreligious and intercultural dialogues and further be able to prepare their own students to become facilitators and leaders in interreligious dialogue, the fellows also learn how to train their own students in conflict transformation so as to be active peacemakers in their respective communities.

During the Fellows Program, the participants have the opportunity to develop and implement small-scale local and/or international initiatives, within their respective institutions or beyond. They also participate in and organize dialogue sessions, lectures, field visits, and conferences. After the one-year program, the Fellows become part of the KAICIID Fellows Network, which works on following up on the fellows’ progress, and invest in their long-term sustainability as resource persons in the field of interreligious dialogue and conflict transformation.

Amidst the chilling winter here in Vienna, this week I can see a potential super rainbow in the world – an unparalleled gathering of almost 70 Fellows (2015, 2016 and 2017) at KAICIID Dialogue Centre. These ambassadors who come from almost 30 countries the world over believe that amidst the current deluge of internecine wars, religious bigotry, and violent extremism, there is hope.

In continuously hoping in the realm of both theory and practice, their music is the Mozart of dialogue; their Burgtheater the theater of community reach-out; and their Hofburg the museum of shared experiences and common witnessing.

That hope is peace/salam/shalom/kapayapaan/kalinaw/kalilintad/sagiatra in the entire world.


[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Mansoor L. Limba, PhD in International Relations, is a writer, educator, blogger, chess trainer, and translator (from Persian into English and Filipino) with tens of written and translation works to his credit on such subjects as international politics, history, political philosophy ,intra-faith and interfaith relations, cultural heritage, Islamic finance, jurisprudence (fiqh), theology (‘ilm al-kalam), Qur’anic sciences and exegesis (tafsir), hadith, ethics, and mysticism. He can be reached at, or and]

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The ‘Amman Message’: A Primer

The Amman Message

MAKATI CITY (3 June) – Immediately after the first round of Pakighinabi (Conversation) Series on the significance of the ‘Amman Message’ in interfaith and intra-faith dialogues ( at the Ateneo de Davao University, Davao City, on April 22, 2015, and another presentation (The Role of Religious Organizations in the Promotion of Mutual Understanding and Harmony: The Case of ‘Amman Message’) at an international interreligious conference on the approach of Islam and Christianity towards religious extremism and violence ( held at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila, on April 29-30, 2015, the need for an introductory reading material on the said document was expressed by some attendants to both forums. This primer is a personal response to the said request.

Q: What is the ‘Amman Message’?

A: 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.

Q: What does the ‘Amman Message’ significantly contain?

A: The ‘Amman Message’ 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)?

Q: What relevant event happened subsequent to the issuance of the detailed statement?

A: In order to cement further the religious-legal authority of the answers to the said three fundamental questions, King Abdullah II convened in July 2005 an international Islamic conference of 200 of the world’s leading Muslim scholars (‘ulama) from 50 countries.

Q: What were the points highlighted in the said conference?

A: Three (3) points were highlighted in the said conference, namely: (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.

Q: In short, what is the significance of the ‘Amman Message’ in intra-faith dialogue or the relationship among Muslims?

A: The said document is reportedly the largest contemporary ijma (consensus) in the Muslim world. From July 2005 to July 2006, it had already earned 552 endorsements from 84 countries including those of the late King Abdullah al-Saud and 14 other personalities from Saudi Arabia, Al-Azhar University Rector (mufti) Sheikh Tantawi of Egypt, Sheikh Qaradawi of Qatar, Ayatullah Sistani of Iraq, and Imam Khamene’i of the Islamic Republic of Iran. As of June 1, 2015, there are 68,975 online endorsements since March 1, 2007.

Q: What are other efforts along this line of the ‘Amman Message’?

A: In contemporary time, there have been many intra-faith efforts by Muslim scholars, some of which are the correspondences (al-muraja‘at) between Sheikh Salim Bisri of Al-Azhar University, Egypt, and Sayyid Sharafuddin Musawi of Lebanon; the exchanges between Sheikh Mahmud Shaltut of Al-Azhar University, Egypt, and Sayyid Husayn Burujerdi of Iran; the opening of Dar al-Taqrib bayn al-Madhahib fi’l-Islam (Forum for Proximity of the Schools of Thought in Islam) in Egypt; re-opening of Dar al-Taqrib bayn al-Madhahib fi’l-Islam in Tehran; the declaration of 12th to 17th of the Islamic lunar month of Rabi‘ al-Awwal as International Islamic Unity Week; and the annual International Islamic Unity Conference every month of Rabi‘ al-Awwal, among others.  

Q: In short, what is the significance of ‘Amman Message’ in interfaith dialogue or the relationship of Muslims with followers of other religions?

A: A relevant point highlighted in ‘Amman Message’ is that acknowledgement of the schools of Muslim jurisprudence (madhahib) within Islam means adhering to a fundamental methodology in the issuance of fatwas. In other words, only a high-ranking Muslim scholar worth his title has the authority to issue religious edict, which oftentimes targets the lives of both Muslims and non-Muslims. As such, not any Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman or ‘Ali is religiously qualified to do so.

Amman Message’ website further elaborates, thus: “The safeguarding of the legal methodologies of Islam (the madhahib) necessarily means inherently preserving traditional Islam’s internal ‘checks and balances’. It thus assures balanced Islamic solutions for essential issues like human rights; women’s rights; freedom of religion; legitimate jihad; good citizenship of Muslims in non-Muslim countries, and just and democratic government. It also exposes the illegitimate opinions of radical fundamentalists and terrorists from the point of view of true Islam.”

Q: Given this intra-faith and interfaith significance of the ‘Amman Message,’ how can one endorse the document?

A: It is very easy. The endorsement can be done online. Just visit ‘Amman Message’ website at

Q: How long will online endorsement take?

A: It will only take one to three minutes to fill up the following information: full name; email (required); country (required); date of birth (required); title; position; organization; whether Muslim or not; whether Muslim scholar (‘alim) or not; and gender.

Q: May a non-Muslim endorse the ‘Amman Message’?

A: The fact that one of the pieces of information asked in the online endorsement box is whether the endorser is a Muslim or not logically follows that a non-Muslim may endorse the ‘Amman Message’ considering its practical importance and benefits to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Q: How can one invite a friend to join the online endorsement?

A: The website provides a Tell a Friend Script ( which will only take a minute to fill up.

Q: How many and who are the prominent Muslim entities from the Philippines that have already endorsed the ‘Amman Message’?

A: Based on the information provided in the ‘Amman Message’ website ( as of June 1, 2015, there is no prominent Muslim entity yet from the Philippines that has endorsed the ‘Amman Message’.


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The Case of ‘Amman Message’




INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE(Theme: “The Approach of Islam and Christianity Towards Religious Extremism and Violence”), BGPOP, University of Santo Tomas, Manila, April 29-30, 2015.


The following were among the issues raised after the paper presentation on the second day of the conference: (1) the word ‘infidel’ in [some English translations of] the Qur’an; (2) ritual impurity (najasah) in Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh); (3) settlement of the ‘shared values’ on human rights, freedom and liberty, gender equality, freedom of expression, the sacred and the profane, etc.; (4) Is the current happening in the Middle East a product of post-intra-faith dialogues among the Muslims?


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‘Amman Message’ and ‘A Common Word’

Amman Message - Davao

During the open forum, since many issues were raised – salvation for non-Muslims in Islam, Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb, the nature and scope of ‘fatwa’, what an individual Muslim could believe and act upon without necessitating an issuance of ‘fatwa’ from a higher authority, ‘intellectual oppression’ (‘zulm al-‘aqli’) in political jurisprudence (‘fiqh al-siyasi’), the meaning of ‘God as unfathomable’, bottom-up or top-to-bottom approach to combat religious violence, the problem of mid-level Muslim scholars issuing ‘fatwa’, and Muslim unity in an environment of sectarian violence, among many others – I failed to clarify the following two points:

Amman Message’ refers to the initiative which initially started as a detailed statement released in Ramadan 1425 AH / November 2004 by the King of Jordan and followed by the convening of an international Islamic conference of 200 of the world’s leading Muslim scholars from 50 countries. It is intra-faith in focus. See

A Common Word’ (in Arabic, ‘Kalimatun Sawa’un’) refers to the initial letter or document on the common platform between the Jews, Christians and Muslims dated October 2007 (1428 AH) issued by the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought of Jordan, which was positively responded by the original 138 signatories. It is interfaith in focus. See

The term ‘A Common Word’ is taken from Qur’an 3:64: “Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to a common word between us and you: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside God. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him).”


Thanks to FB for having this opportunity to clarify.


(Text of the Presentation:…/significance-amman-message-dr-mans…)

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