As part of its continual efforts in community cohesion, a delegation from Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeya (I.M.A.M.), led by its Chairman, Sayyid M.B. Kashmiri, attended and participated in the annual New York Encounter for 2018. The three-day event, which took place January 14-16, 2018, at the Metropolitan Pavilion in lower Manhattan, had attendees numbering in the several thousands. The I.M.A.M. delegation received a warm reception from program organizers, special guest dignitaries, and other attendees.
As described by the organizers, the Encounter aims to discover, affirm, and offer to everyone truly human expressions of the desire for truth, beauty, and justice. The Encounter, thus, becomes a meeting point for people of different beliefs, traditions, and cultures striving for reciprocal understanding, mutual building, and true friendship.
The three-day event, held under the theme “An ‘Impossible’ Unity”, included many noteworthy discussions, such as the experiences of being and having a father, a dialogue on the shared bonds and ideals in today’s American society, and more.
I.M.A.M. represented the Muslim perspective in a panel discussion called Abraham and the Birth of ‘I’. This discussion featured representatives of the three main monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and their views on the story of the man considered as the father of their faith (Prophet Abraham (p)) and on the relationship between God in human history and the discovery of one’s own identity.
Joseph Weiler, Joseph Straus Professor of Law, New York University, shared Jewish perspectives. Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, shared Catholic perspectives. Sayyid M.B. Kashmiri, Chairman of I.M.A.M. and representative of the Jurist, shared Muslim perspectives. John McCarthy, dean of the School of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, moderated the panel.
Community cohesion has been a cornerstone of I.M.A.M.’s activities throughout North America, and has included visiting Islamic organizations across the continent, hosting programs and conferences, and most notably, by conducting inter-faith and intra-faith meetings and projects, as well as supporting the Council of Shia Muslim Scholars in North America.
Through its participation in the New York Encounter, I.M.A.M. furthered efforts to build good interfaith relations and opened new doors for dialogue and cooperation for the betterment of the larger North American Muslim Community.