Amb. Zara Juan

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Over 500 to embrace Hinduism in Valsad of Gujarat: VHP

SURAT: Vishwa Hindu Parishad will hold ghar vapasi (religious conversion) event on Saturday in remote tribal village Arnai of Kaprada taluka in Valsad district of Gujarat. VHP claimed that around 100 families are to participate in the event. More than 500 individuals will convert to Hinduism from other religions, VHP office bearers claimed. Total 150 families participated in Ghar Vapasi event in Barumal village of neighbouring Dharampur taluka in November. For the event a samiyana has been erected in the village Arnai. Around 150 office bearers and volunteers of VHP were actively working in Kaprada taluka to organise the event in December. Sources claimed that the event has been intentionally scheduled around Christmas and New Year celebrations. To avoid any tension in the region police are keeping close watch on the event and related activities. At the event a yagna will be performed in presence of the participating families. Each participant will be given one photo of God Ram and a Rudraksh Mala. "The participating families will be given only a photo and a Rudraksh Mala. Ganga jal will be sprinkled on them to purify them during the yagna," said Ajit Solanki, secretary of Valsad district VHP and regional in-charge of VHP's Dharma Prasar Samiti. "Preparations were on since last few weeks to organise the event. We held similar event in November and 150 families returned to Hinduism. We organised religious lecture and Bhajan events in past few weeks to educate the locals that they were originally Hindu," said Solanki. "We are keeping close watch on the event organised. So far there is not disturbance in the area," said Nipurna Toravane, superintendent of police, Valsad.

ISLAM Scholars warn IS bec"It is forbidden in Islam to kill emissaries, ambassadors, diplomats, journalists, aid workers". It is forbidden in Islam to harm

Conservative Muslims refute the violence of IS Does Islamic theology have the argumentative resources to counter the claim that violence perpetrated in the name of Islam is covered by verses from the Koran? Yes, says the Islam expert Katajun Amirpur, pointing to an open letter from Muslim scholars Politicians and journalists are still calling on Muslims to distance themselves from the terror being perpetrated by Islamic State. However, largely unnoticed by them, practically all relevant Muslim associations, and above all Islamic authorities – including those who are decidedly traditional and conservative – have condemned this organisation as barbaric and un-Islamic. If critics of Islam ignore this and claim that there is a proximity between basic principles of Islam and IS terrorism, then their image of Islam is in some way similar to that of the fundamentalists. This image has very little to do with the Islam of the majority of Muslims and their authorities. In this regard, a letter to the leader of the terrorist organisation published a few weeks ago is particularly revealing: It was authored by more than 120 notable scholars, who for the most part come from a conservative spectrum of Islam. Therefore, the detailed examination of IS ideology and its references to the Koran in this letter was not undertaken by modern reformers or Islamic enlightenment thinkers, but by Islamic authorities operating within a decidedly orthodox thought structure. The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Shawqi Allam, is among the authors, as is Sheikh Ahmad al-Kubaisi, the founder of the Union of Religious Scholars (Ulema) in Iraq. They also include scholars from Chad and Nigeria to Sudan and Pakistan. They obviously feel the need to position Islamic theology in clear opposition to the terrorists. What other explanation could there be for scholars writing to terrorists? The letter is 25 pages long and is addressed to: "Dr Ibrahim Awwad al-Badri, alias 'Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi'" and to the fighters and followers of the self-declared Islamic State. But the people it is really speaking to are undoubtedly the Muslims whom the authors fear could be ensnared by IS propaganda. The Koran (photo: AFP) In the open letter to the leader of IS and his followers, 126 notable scholars of Islam point to 24 offences committed by IS, warning them that "It is forbidden in Islam to kill emissaries, ambassadors, and diplomats; hence it is forbidden to kill journalists and aid workers" and "It is forbidden in Islam to harm or mistreat—in any way—Christians or any 'People of the Scripture'" False caliph Al-Baghdadi, who was born in Iraq in 1971 and calls himself "Abu Bakr" after Islam's first caliph and "al-Baghdadi" as a way of asserting his claim to Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid caliphs, is not addressed as a caliph by the writers of this letter. The reason for this, according to the authors, is that in Islamic law, the declaration of a caliphate – in other words, the appointment of the political successor to the Prophet – can only happen with the consent of all Muslims. The text summarises 24 offences committed by the so-called "Islamic State": "It is forbidden in Islam to kill emissaries, ambassadors, and diplomats; hence it is forbidden to kill journalists and aid workers." Or: "It is forbidden in Islam to harm or mistreat—in any way—Christians or any 'People of the Scripture'." A detailed justification is provided for each statement. For example, the letter says that it is the duty of all Muslims to view the Yazidis as "People of the Scripture". Accordingly, it is illegitimate to declare them unbelievers or even treat them as outlaws. Why? "From the legal perspective of Shari'ah they are Magians, because the Prophet said: 'Treat them as you treat People of the Scripture'." The origin of these quotes is meticulously outlined in footnotes. In this case, it is the Hadith of Imam Malik and Imam al-Shafi'I, two of the four founders of the four Sunni legal schools. In addition to this, the authors explain the prerequisites for Islamic jurisdiction. In doing so, they are indirectly denying the self-declared caliph any kind of authority and competence to make legally binding statements. A Yemeni man studying the Koran in Sanaa (photo: Reuters) The authors of the open letter to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi state unequivocally why it is wrong to simply pick out one verse from the Koran to justify Islamic States' acts of terror. They also indirectly deny Baghdadi any kind of authority and competence to make legally binding statements The Koran needs to be interpreted correctly According to the authors, the methods of interpretation set out by God in the Koran and by the Prophet in the Hadiths say: everything that has been revealed on a particular issue must be considered in its entirety. The focus cannot be on individual fragments. This method comes from the Scripture itself, among other things from the following verse of the Koran: "What, do you believe in part of the Book and disbelieve in part?" (Al-Baqarah 2:85). When all the relevant passages are brought together, the "general" has to be separated from the "specific" and the "conditional" from the "unconditional". The unequivocal verse must likewise be separated from the ambiguous. Then the "reasons and circumstances for revelation", the "asbab al-nuzul", for all these verses as well as all the other conditions for interpretation as established by the "classical" scholars must be factored in. And only then – with recourse to all the available written sources – can laws be made or interpretations given. It is, in short, not permitted to quote a verse without considering the whole Koran and the Hadith. The authors of the letter describe it as an obligation to bring all texts into harmony with each other as far as possible, and with this in mind, they invoke Imam al-Shafi'i and a universal consensus among all scholars of legal theory. In this context, the authors of the letter also examine the verses of the Koran that appear to legitimate violence: "Permission [to fight] is granted to those who fight because they have been wronged" (Al Hajj, 22:39). Sheikh Shawqi Allam (photo: picture-alliance/dpa/Julien Warnand) In the introduction to his critique of Islamic State entitled "The Ideological Battlefield", Sheikh Shawqi Allam (pictured here), the Grand Mufti of Egypt and one of the authors of the open letter to the leader of IS, writes "The rise of ideological extremism in the Muslim world has led to the widespread view of Islam as a religion of violence, retribution and war. This is in complete opposition to the truth of our religion" Frequently cited surah This and similar verses of the second surah are the ones that are most often quoted – by critics of Islam in a negative way, and by jihadists in a positive way – to prove the propensity for violence that is supposedly inherent in Islam. The scholars, however, draw exclusively on a particular event, the "reasons and circumstances for revelation". In this regard, the verse only corresponds to the following specific political situation: in the year 630, the Prophet marched into Mecca to fight the heathen people there, thereby breaking a peace treaty that he had agreed himself two years previously. His action therefore required some legitimation, which the verse provides. What was meant here was that the people of Mecca could be fought, because they had previously "sinned" against the Prophet's community. They had driven out his followers and wanted to kill him. Consequently, the verse does not yield a general instruction for all Muslims. The authors of the letter expressly state: "Thus, jihad is tied to safety, freedom of religion, having been wronged, and eviction from one's land. These two verses were revealed after the Prophet and his companions suffered torture, murder, and persecution for thirteen years at the hands of the idolaters. Hence, there is no such thing as offensive, aggressive jihad just because people have different religions or opinions." This interpretation is by no means modern or inspired by the West. The method being used here has existed in Islamic theology for centuries. A whole branch of it is concerned with the aforementioned reasons and circumstances for revelation. In other words, there has always been the assumption of a kind of dialectical relationship between text and addressee, and the context in which a verse was revealed was always examined in order to better understand its meaning and its scope. An individual case such as the one described in this surah cannot serve as a precedent for other apparently similar situations. Islamic law may be essentially shaped by thinking that relies on precedent, but as the authors of the letter say, "It is not permissible to invoke a specific verse from the Koran as applying to an event that has occurred 1,400 years after the verse was revealed." IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (photo: picture-alliance/AP) The false caliph: "Al-Baghdadi, who was born in Iraq in 1971, and calls himself "Abu Bakr" after Islam's first caliph, [...] is not addressed as a caliph by the writers of this letter. The reason for this, according to the authors, is that in Islamic law, the declaration of a caliphate – in other words, the appointment of the political successor to the Prophet – can only happen with the consent of all Muslims," writes Katajun Amirpur Probematic aspects As the letter shows, Islamic theology has sufficient argumentative resources to counter the arguments of the so-called "Islamic State". All the same, the approach taken by the authors of the letter still has its problematic aspects from a liberal point of view. For example, the authors stand by the validity of corporal punishment, even though they tie its use to strict criteria. Likewise, the authors of the letter state their opposition to sexual violence when they criticise the reintroduction of slavery, and to denying women their rights, but one searches in vain for an endorsement of equal rights. Where women are concerned, the authors of the letter still obviously cling to traditional structures. Further thought is necessary here. Clear positions must be adopted, and a statement should be made that in the twenty-first century, corporal punishment and sexual discrimination are incompatible not only with Western values, but with the ethos of Islam. Other thinkers have nailed their colours to the mast. Iranian women's rights campaigners, for example, are calling for equal rights, and using the spirit of the Koran in their arguments. Historically, they say, the Koran initially improved the situation of women, but it did not lead to entirely equal rights, which would not have been communicable to the society of that time. All the same, justice can be clearly seen as the goal of the prophecy. And in this spirit, equal rights must be achieved today. Others, like the Pakistani Fazlur Rahman, have developed an interpretive method for transferring the message of the Koran to the present day. Rahman calls it "double movement": you must first study the context in which the Koran was proclaimed; then you will understand the original message. In a second movement, you can extrapolate from this the principles and values that could count as norms today in the spirit of the Koran. Fazlur Rahman, and with him the Ankara school whose modern Koran hermeneutics have been very influenced by him, go much further in terms of content than the traditionally-minded writers of the letter. For example, Rahman reaches a pluralistic theology of religions through his "double movement" approach. Even so, the authors of the letter stipulate a link between revelation and history, and insist on the necessity of subjecting even seemingly unambiguous verses from the Koran to a detailed linguistic and historical interpretation in the framework of the overall context, instead of simply taking them literally. In contrast to this, the process of cherry-picking individual verses from the Koran in order to prove a thesis formulated in advance, as practised by fundamentalists and some critics of Islam, is simply grotesque from the viewpoint of Islamic theology, and a sign of ignorance. Katajun Amirpur © 2014 Translated from the German by Ruth Martin Dr Katajun Amirpur is a Professor of Islamic Studies at Hamburg University. Her book "Den Islam neu denken. Der Dschihad für Demokratie, Freiheit und Frauenrechte" (Rethinking Islam: the jihad for democracy, freedom and women's rights) was published by C. H. Beck in 2013. Source:

CHINA embraced Buddhism to help persuade its citizens to care about the environment

Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro that story. A version of his report appeared previously on “Religion & Ethics Newsweekly” and was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and Face to Face Media. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Liu Jianqiang, lifelong atheist and investigative environmental journalist, is becoming a Buddhist. His first expose was on illegal dam construction on the upper Yangtze River. Over the last 10 years, it’s led to national attention, a job firing and now burnout. LIU JIANQIANG, Journalist (through interpreter): As an environmentalist, every day what we see is polluted air, polluted rivers, and the slaughter of wild animals. This kind of negative energy attacks us every day. Where do we draw our strength from? FRED DE SAM LAZARO: He’s one of millions of Chinese returning to Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian temples that have at times in the past been condemned by the government. A little more than four decades ago, during China’s Cultural Revolution, many Buddhist temples like this one in central Beijing were destroyed or defaced. Today, these temples are alive with worshipers. By some accounts, one out of every five Chinese call themselves Buddhists. Some scholars say this search for faith is linked to China’s massive environmental problems. MARTIN PALMER, Alliance of Religions and Conservation: In a world in which capitalism and socialism and consumerism have created a kind of industrial behemoth that is just thundering ahead, that is draining life out of the villages. That is polluting the soil and the water and the air, you have a heartless world. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Martin Palmer, shown in a Chinese TV broadcast here, is based in the U.K., but has been working in China nearly 20 years, urging religious groups to respond to this crisis and to encourage conservation. In 2006, he realized this message was also being heard by the Communist Party. MARTIN PALMER: I was called in for a meeting in 2006 with the minister for the environment and the minister for religion, and they were very frank. They said the single-child policy has created the most selfish generation in China’s history, because each child has been brought up as the center of attention for the family. Nothing is too much to give to them. And these two Communist Party officials said we want the religions to help us bring compassion back. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: But what is it that finally persuades an individual like Liu Jianqiang to cross the gap from atheism to Buddhism, in his case the smaller Tibetan branch, which has about five million adherents? Shi Lihong is a journalist and filmmaker. She’s known Liu for more than 10 years, but she was still surprised by his decision. SHI LIHONG, Filmmaker: When I heard that Jianqiang was converted I was really shocked. You know, our generation was raised as atheists through childhood. We were taught that religious beliefs are superstitious. So it’s very hard for me to believe in any religion. I feel there is a huge gap. I was very curious. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: To satisfy her curiosity, she took a film crew to the highlands of western China, an area adjoining the autonomous region more commonly known outside China as Tibet. It’s rich in biodiversity that conservation groups say is greatly imperiled. This is also home to the headwaters of the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers, quite literally a lifeline to hundreds of millions of people downstream. A prominent person in her documentary is a monk named Tashi Sange. He explains how conservation and respect for all living things has long been an intrinsic part of life here. TASHI SANGE, Tibetan Monk (through interpreter): Mama and papa told me in secret that this is a sacred lake. But they said, don’t ever talk about it openly, because we couldn’t talk about gods. They do not exist in the Communist Party’s eyes; they are superstitions. If anyone talked about a god they would be beaten, so we wouldn’t dare to say it. JEFFREY BROWN: But through thick and thin in a country that’s seen so much political upheaval and social change, those fundamental values have endured, he says. TASHI SANGE (through interpreter): No matter if you are a newborn or an 80-year-old, you are all protectors. You are all responsible. And you have the responsibility. All life should be protected. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Back in China’s capital, Liu Jianqiang, guided by the Tibetan monk Qiamei Rinpoche, says his spiritual journey has changed the way he sees the world and his whole approach to writing. LIU JIANQIANG (through interpreter): Before, I only wrote from a legal point of view. It’s wrong, this is a national park, and how can you destroy it? Now when I write, in my mind what I thought is that they are fishes, they are millions of lives. I can clearly see my change. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: China’s omnipresent and officially atheist Communist Party appears to be actively supporting traditional culture as a way to lead people back toward a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Party official Dai Binnguo addressed this recent gathering. DAI BINNGUO, Chinese Politician (through interpreter): Traditional Chinese culture promotes harmony between man and nature and encourages limited consumption and a simple way of life. We support this. We don’t oppose taking from nature. We do oppose overexploitation. We want gold mountain, but we also want clear water and green mountain. Traditional Chinese culture promotes harmony between man and nature in a simple way of life. We support this. We don’t oppose taking from nature. We oppose overexploitation. We want gold mountain but we also want clear water and green mountain. MARTIN PALMER: My sense is that the partnership between religion and government around environment is only going to get stronger and stronger. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: A partnership he hopes will help lower the heavy environmental price China is paying for its economic progress of recent decades. For the “NewsHour,” this is Fred de Sam Lazaro in Beijing. JUDY WOODRUFF: Fred’s reporting is a partnership with the Under-Told Stories Project at Saint Mary’s University in Minnesota. Source:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dec 21 Global Synchronized Meditation. SOLSTICE - 3:03pm PDT, 11:03pm GMT for healing and co-creation

OIN US DEC 21 Global Attunement for Peace on Sunday December 21, 2014 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM PST. This is an online event A global teleconference/webcast to co-create a field of peace for personal and collective healing. Please click for the Online event access: Skype: 1-724-444-7444; Call ID 131450; Personal ID 1#. Check the start time in your timezone here: Global Synchronized Meditation. AT THE EXACT POINT OF SOLSTICE - 3:03pm PDT, 11:03pm GMT Please join us on December 21 for the next UNIFY Global Synchronized moment in honor of the Solstice and World Spirit Day. In our Attunement on December 21, we will co-create and plant magical seeds of peace in ourselves, our families, and in places around the planet in need of healing. We will then harvest the collective wisdom of our group through the sharing of individual insights. The process offers a beautiful way to help you access the deeper dimensions of this sacred time of year. In conjunction with our partners The Gaiafield Project and BeThePeace, we will be co-hosting an online Attunement that will occur via teleconference/audio webcast. Click here for more information:

Monday, December 8, 2014

PRAYERS CAN HELP SAVE A COUNTRY FROM MORE DISASTERS: Pres Aquino to ask Pope to pray for Philippines

Prayers for the country as it is pummeled by typhoon after typhoon. This is what President Benigno Aquino III said he would ask Pope Francis when the Pontiff visits the country in January. “We are visited by so many typhoons and they come at very unseasonal moments and they’re very strong,” Mr. Aquino said at the Bulong Pulungan forum, when asked what he would ask the Pope to pray for. The highlight of the Pope’s trip is a visit to Tacloban City, ravaged by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) last year. Mr. Aquino said the country had endured a “cycle of destruction and reconstruction” for years. He stressed the government’s goal was to reconstruct better. Read more: Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Celebrate Start of Winter and Time of Rebirth on Dec 21. Join Prayers for Peace worldwide

The Winter Solstice marks the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Infuse the Earth with Prayers for Peace. A 24 Hour Internet Marathon REGISTER HERE: We invite you to pray any time within the 24 hours of this day. Prayers for Peace every 30 minutes around the world. Visual and Audio World Peace Prayer Ceremony You can access right from your computer! English: Japanese: Global Link Connections are hosted by The World Peace Prayer Society to bring the global community together in simultaneous prayers for peace no matter where you live in the world. THE WORLD PEACE PRAYER CEREMONY WINTER SOLSTICE DAY 24 Hour Internet PRAYER Marathon Commune in the spirit of Unity and Rebirth on December 21st ~ 23:03 UTC/GMT December 22nd in Japan

Monday, December 1, 2014

MUSLIMS & JEWS: Religious leaders asked both sides to back away from a blood feud based on religion

ISRAEL-PALESTINE: “A religious war is very difficult to extinguish. A political war is manageable in comparison,” said Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch from Western Wall. But the term “religious war” being bandied about begs the questions of what is a religious war, what constitutes a religious war and how is it different from a standard, run-of-the-mill, everyday war. Political analysts said it is involved a perceived threat within a religious context. Muslims and Jews feel threatened by a possible loss of control over sites that both consider sacred. Both turned houses of worship into battlegrounds. Israeli police fired guns at Palestinians in the al-Aqsa’s mosque compound, and Palestinians killed Jewish worshipers during prayer in a Jerusalem synagogue. “A religious war usually is motivated by a belief that God is on your side. God is a very potent actor in international relations. You are ready to make great sacrifices. You have great patience, which means you are ready to fight for a long time if God is on your side,” said Professor Efraim Inbar, a Middle East analyst. Historically, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been considered a clash of religions, but the focus has been on property and politics. Because this news conflict erupted over access to religious sites, the stakes are higher and the emotions are more intense.

TIBET: 3 Hour Shamanic Chakra Cleanse: Tibetan Music, Healing Music, Meditation...

Be the Peace Leader

Be the Peace Leader
Pray for Peace by Amb Zara Jane Juan

Come & Join Inter-Faith Prayers & Inter-Cultural Dialogue for Peace

Come! Share your Peace! - Ambassador Zara Jane Juan, Sailing for Peace

2012 Video International Day of Peace Vigil by Sailing for Peace

Sailing for Peace Worldwide Peace Vigil

Sailing for Peace Worldwide Peace Vigil
Prayer Vigil for Vatican as Pope expresses sorrow over terrorist attacks and prayed that God will sustain all men of goodwill who courageously roll up their sleeves to deal with the plague of terrorism and this bloodstain which is gripping the world in a shadow of fear and bewilderment

Amb. Zara Jane Juan, Peace Ambassador

Amb. Zara Jane Juan, Peace Ambassador
I choose to be a Missionary of the Interfaith, Interracial, Intercultural Sailing for Peace Program inspired and guided by the discipline and life of the Virgin Mary of the Catholic Church. I am a Catholic, a Lady Datin of the Muslims, a Buddhist in my Healthy Lifestyle and a Hindu in Purifying my Soul. With Free Thinking and Scientific Approach to my Peace Work, my life on the over-all is a whirlwind of Faith and Fate. I refuse donations to my peace work to prevent corruption but rather I decided to live a very simple so that I can fund it personally through my own personal income as Professional Resource Speaker, Author, Visual Artist, Playwright and Director

JESUS CHRIST - 7 LAST WORDS - Lenten Recollection for Christians