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projects bannerLiberty and Tolerance in an Age of Religious Conflict

Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs
Georgetown University, Washington DC


Small panels of scholars, journalists and activists from the United States and the nations of the Middle East (Turkey, Israel and Palestine, Iraq, and Jordan), led the conversations, and many in the sessions’ audiences spoke as well. Participants were Jews, Muslims and Christians, and they were asked to speak not so much from the canons of secular reason, but from the depths of their own traditions as they sought to make sense of their experiences with conflict, injustice and peace making. 

Thursday, September 8

7:00pm Keynote Lecture, McNeir Hall, Georgeown University
Nicholas Wolterstorff, "The Wounds of God."

Videotape of lecture is now available.

Friday, September 9, Berkley Center

9:00-9:15am Welcome, Tom Banchoff and Kelly Clark

9:15-11:00am Muslim Perspectives

KMuslimeynote: Hedieh Mirahmadi, "Religious Liberty in Islam"

Panel discussion with Rana Husseini, Hedieh Mirahmadi, and Aziz Abu Sarah, moderated by Tom Banchoff

11:15am-1:00pm Jewish Perspectives
Keynote: Nurit Peled-Elhanan, "The Educational Jewish panelStakes"

Panel discussion with Arik Ascherman, Nurit Peled-Elhanan and Leah Shakdiel, moderated by Michael Cromartie  


2:30pm-4:00pm Christian Perspectives
Ziya Meral, Kelly James Clark, Hanna Siniora, Nicholas Wolterstorff, moderated by Zainab Al-Suwaij 


Each of the panels addressed the following questions:

1. Historically, how has your tradition been exploited by opponents of religious liberty and tolerance? Does such exploitation persist, and why?
2. What are the major resources within your tradition supportive of religious liberty and tolerance? What do they add to dominant secular human rights discourse?
3. How can interfaith dialogue and activism advance the liberty and tolerance agenda? What dangers and pitfalls do you see along the way?

View photo album

Videos of panel sessions

Saturday, September 10

Interfaith Dinner & Discussion, 8:15 PM at Truro Church
“How Muslims, Jews and Christians Pursue Peace Together.” 

More than 150 people, including several rabbis, imams and their congregants gathered with members of Truro Church and other Christians from nearby for “an evening of Mediterranean food and honest conversation.”  People gathered around dinner tables in interfaith groups and listened first to a bit of conference reprise from three of the 13 panelists from the prior day’s conference: Rabbi Arik Ascherman, Ziya Meral, and Rana Husseini. Thereafter each group spent some time talking about how they might pursue peace together right there in Fairfax, Virginia, only a few miles from the site of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.  


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