Bouncing Back or Bouncing Forward: Shaping a post-pandemic Society

tralian Bahai CommunityThe Australian Baha’i Community invites you to an online webinar where noted Australian author and sociologist Hugh Mackay AO will explore the lessons we have learnt from the pandemic, and the ways we might change as a result, on Friday May 29th from 12:30pm.

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2020 World Interfaith Harmony Week Winners

World Interfaith Harmony Week LogoEach year, the King of Jordan, King Abdullah II – who introduced the World Interfaith Harmony Week resolution to the United Nations General Assembly – awards prizes to the best World Interfaith Harmony Week celebrations worldwide. Last year, this prize was won by the Interfaith Centre of Melbourne.

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A post-COVID Recovery for people & the Earth

arrcc logoThe Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) advocates that Australian governments respond to the science of climate change in the way they have responded to COVID-19. This would mean stimulus spending on climate-conserving, low-carbon options, many of which are deployment ready, economically cheaper and more employment-intensive than fossil fuel-based industries which are declining and come with huge and costly environmental consequences.

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Book Review – What is a Madrasa

Book Cover - What is a MadrasaThe prospects for peace in Afghanistan, dialogue between Washington and Tehran, the UN’s bid to stabilise nuclear-armed Pakistan, understanding the largest Muslim minority in the world’s largest democracy in India, or the largest Muslim population in the world in Indonesia – all require some knowledge of the traditional religious sectors in these countries and of what connection traditional religious schooling has (or not) to their geopolitical situations. Here, Adis Dujerija of Griffith University, Queensland, writes one book review.

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Tasmania – May 2020

Tasmania Logo

Greetings of peace, health and wellbeing as we begin to emerge from lockdown!

This is such an important time for those of us who follow a faith tradition and those of good will to emerge the qualities and values our traditions teach us: peace, serenity, lovingkindness and compassion, to help to support not only our own individual communities, but mainstream communities locally and globally. We also celebrate the creativity and pastoral care taken by faith communities in this time of withdrawal to provide spiritual sustenance in unique and creative ways. Many of us have found benefit in the time of quietness we have been through, as well as the new ways we have found to keep connection.

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NSW: Buddhist Studies May 2020 Seminar

The Australasian Association for Buddhist Studies notifies that its next seminar will take place online using Zoom on 21 May at 6:30pm (Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney time). The topic will be Intention in Karmaphala from the Vaibhāṣika View According to the Eighth and the Ninth Karmapa’s Abhidharmakośa Commentaries.

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This is how Bali escaped being virus hot spot with local traditions

Ganesh idol in BaliBali has remained largely free of the coronavirus, much less than Indonesia as a whole, and only a small fraction of the cases in western countries. Its Hindu way of life and self-discipline have protected it. Bali’s spiritual power and tourist value will endure.

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Eased coronavirus restrictions in the NT allow for first Ramadan prayers

Darwin MosqueMohammad Waqas, the president of the NT’s Islamic Society, says being able to pray in public is a huge boost to morale in the community. On account of the relaxed lockdown restrictions in the Northern Territory, the Darwin Mosque opened its doors for Friday prayes and Taweed on 15 May 2020.

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Ethical aspects of Medical Education in the wake of the Covid-19 Pandemic

Joint Logo - Religions for Peace and UNICEF

In the wake of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is abundantly clear to all the necessity of studying the pathology and widespread health consequences associated with the virus. However, what is much less clear is the impact of COVID-19 on medical ethics and medical education.

This report summarizes a global panel discussion webinar in the wake of COVID-19 held on Sunday night (Melbourne time), 3rd. May, 2020 under the sponsorship of the Department of Education’s UNESCO Chair in Bioethics located at the University of Haifa which works to encourage the teaching of bioethics in medical and health sciences and law courses across the world. The topic was the ethical aspects of medical education, a topic close to the UNESCO Chair’s mission.

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Joint statement of Australian Faith Community representatives: Australia’s Response to the Covid19 pandemic so far, looking ahead now.

Religions in AustraliaAustralian Faith Community representatives have come together to discuss Australia’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic thus far, with compassion and concern for the vulnerable. A joint statement is given as Australia be the example of a multifaith place where compassionate, humble service is the national practice.

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South Australia: May 2020

Multifaith Association of South Australia

The Multifaith Association of South Australia lists interfaith events, climate events and faith festivals happening both locally in South Australia, and nationally, with internet participation – for the month of May, 2020.

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eFriend peer service, for those who are feeling anxious, lonely, isolate or distressed

eFriend illustrationAs part of the Australian Government’s mental health response to COVID-19, Independent Community Living Australia has launched its new eFriend service for all Australians aged 18 and over. eFriend is a free, virtual peer support service that provides Australians with non-clinical, peer-based mental health support. eFriend connects people to a consistent, trained peer support worker via video call, borrowing from the ‘befriending’ model used in the UK to help combat loneliness.

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UN: “The Role of Religious Leaders in Addressing the Multiple Challenges of COVID-19”

UN Secretary General logoJoined by leaders from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths, the UN Secretary General said that as the virus wreaks havoc and disruption on a scale not seen in generations, we see a dawning awareness that the differences that so often divide us pale in significance. He reminded the faith leaders in attendance that the actions of faith leaders influence people’s values, attitudes, behaviours, and actions and could lead to move positive outcomes.

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UN chief appeals to common humanity across all faiths, in tackling the coronavirus

hands in prayerAs the UN secretary-general shared a message on 12 May with religious leaders about how our shared vulnerability to the coronavirus pandemic reveals our common humanity, World Council of Churches leaders agreed that solidarity is a foundation of a meaningful global response. Joined by leaders from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths, the UN chief cited previous public health crises, including HIV/AIDS and Ebola, noting how spiritual leadership had been a positive benefit in terms of community values, attitudes and actions.

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COVID-19, Science, and the Nonreligious

Church and Stormclouds

Cherrypicking evidence for God and Religion in times of Coronavirus? Read all about it, from the non-religious. Of course, it’s perfectly OK to be non-religious, healthy, in fact. Cherrypicking your evidence to support your point of view could be fatal to your narrative: …

In pre-modern days if someone was sick they would commonly pray to the gods or visit a shaman or wisewoman to be healed; perform the correct ritual, take a potion or tonic, and say the right words or prayers. As the world entered the modern and enlightened age, scientific and technological advances alongside increased emphasis on reason and logic set the stage for a new approach to health. No longer did people need to pray to the gods or perform the proper ritual to be healed, they could see a doctor and take some medicine on their hopeful road to eventual recovery. The gods became less necessary.

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Queensland: Taking a Proactive Role in Mobilising Faith Communities during COVID-19

Griffith University - Centre for Interfaith & Cultural Dialogue

Faith communities are uniquely situated to positively and negatively influence the success of Queensland’s’ COVID-19 responses in three areas: faith communities and places of worship, vulnerable groups in society, and community services. To this end, the Centre for Interfaith and Cultural Dialogue at Griffith University brought faith communities together to discover – and report to the Queensland Government – the concerns and needs highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This report outlines key issues facing faith communities in Queensland during the COVID-19 pandemic as reported from the communities themselves. The methods and findings of the project support improving connections between faith communities and state leadership for sharing lessons learned, improving support for vulnerable groups, and ensuring key health messaging is communicated to strengthen public safety.

The Centre for Interfaith and Cultural Dialogue at Griffith University acted as a link to faith communities, helping to facilitate connections between faith groups to identify issues and opportunities via:

  • a. a questionnaire distributed from 14-27 April 2020, and
  • b. an online Community Forum on 28 April 2020.

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Ethics of Humanitarian and Social Aspects of the Public Health Emergency in the wake of the Covid-19 Pandemic

Joint Logo - Religions for Peace and UNICEF

The Covid-19 pandemic around the world is now a perfect storm. It challenges our ways of living, working and celebrating. Country by country, the impact has differed depending on geography, border controls, government leadership and decisions, and preparedness of public health systems.

These are testing times for all. In every case the worst affected are those who cannot socially isolate, who do not have water to wash, who have lost their jobs and so have no daily income, who return to their country as unemployed, hungry migrant workers, who do not have a government that looks out for them. For many the priority is to “flatten the curve” of hunger.

What follows is the second regional webinar of member bodies of Religions for Peace Asia and officers from UNICEF in discussing the Ethics of Humanitarian and Social Aspects of the Public Health Emergency held on 26 April 2020.

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