Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Center
IMAMS FOR COEXISTENCE PROGRAM
For years JICRC has made the interfaith dialogue a central part of its mission. Peace building based on the foundation of human rights principles has undergone an irreversible shift in its approaches since September 11th, 2001. The concept of a ‘New Crusade’, contrasted by the beheadings of Americans by religious extremists have helped to fuel fires of fear, intolerance, and inappropriate action on both sides of the world.
How the East views the West and vice versa is now being seen through the lens of religion. As a result, future development and contact between the two sides of the globe will forever be viewed within this realm, the realm of religious beliefs and values and what those beliefs have to say about ‘the other’.
Education and the promotion of such shared religious values as harmony, tolerance, coexistence, peace, and respect for human dignity is what the Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Center seeks to bring to the table of dialogue. The urgent necessity of promoting these values by building bridges within communities is the JICRC’s founding belief and mission. Speaking of those shared religious beliefs and values will hopefully be the ingredients needed to create broader peace initiatives by governments and civil societies. The ancient country of Jordan, birthplace of such an initiative, has a history of harmonious coexistence and through their model, can serve as a guide to other communities and countries.
Religious leaders in the Middle East are highly respected by their communities, and are looked upon continuously for social and moral guidance; they are intimately involved in the workings of society, and are thus the most eligible motivators of reform. They have the capabilities, and the influence, to mobilize and empower society to improve social and political rights, and to discourage extremism and terrorism.
Education and the promotion of such shared values and respect for human dignity is what the Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Center (JICRC) seeks to bring to the table of dialogue. It is in the spirit of hope and alliance that JICRC seeks collaboration with other interested stakeholders and governments.
Imams for Coexistence is an effort to present to other societies the moderate voices of the Muslim world working for harmony, tolerance, moderation, and peaceful coexistence with others. By bringing support and encouragement to moderate voices of Islam, it will also work to counter the myths and perceptions which are held against the west by many in the Muslim world. Specifically, Imams for Coexistence will strive to achieve the following objectives:
To introduce young, progressive imams to the culture, history, and society of the West and allow them to witness how different religions are expressed and peacefully in the western realm
To give the imams opportunities to interact with western societies in a positive and constructive way through participating in dialogues at public events, where they can discuss Islamic perspectives on human rights, democracy, and gender, while allowing them to address misconceptions and misunderstandings of Islam prevalent in a post-September 11th American and western society
To present western audiences with a basic knowledge and understanding of Islam, the Arab world, and Arab culture from imams living in a country of peace and long-standing friendship with the west
To enable the imams, upon return to Middle East, to convey their impressions of western values through exchanges and dialogues with audiences in their respective home countries
JICRC hopes that Imams for Coexistence will spread tolerance and mutual respect to as many people and nations as possible so that voices of moderation, thus far overwhelmed by extremists, will be heard and magnified.