In line with our mission of promoting cross-cultural understanding, we post stories and activities that embody this ideal - - "Rays of Hope." We invite readers to email us such stories and activities for posting here.
Muslim-Jewish Tolerance Education Initiative in Canada
Patrick Mascoe is a teacher in Ottawa, Canada, who works in a predominantly Muslim inner-city school. After hearing anti-Semitic rhetoric at school he decided to develop a friendship program to bridge the divide between the city’s Muslim and Jewish community. He introduced Holocaust education to his grade 6 students and engaged in a penpal exchange with the city’s only private Jewish school. After 5 years the program is still going strong, the two schools get together regularly to take part in team building exercises and to work together on projects of good deeds. The students now see themselves as role models for others to look up when it comes to tolerance and good citizenship. Video 1 Video 2
Center for Interfaith Studies
An intriguing story about a group of courageous Pakistanis who, inspired by the legacy of Daniel Pearl, established a Center for Interfaith Studies In Faisalabad, dedicated to pluralistic education at the high school level. Visit the World Tolerance Forum. A miraculous story of a dynamic person fond of talking to strangers. A 26-page Urdu language magazine distributed to schools and libraries in Pakistan, introducing the concept of interfaith dialogue with Daniel's life as a role model.Link To Supplement
Flutes Across The World
This Children4Peace Project nurtures cross-cultural understanding by allowing students to reach out and touch the hearts and minds of impoverished children through the gift of music. To begin the exchange, participating students create two "friendship flutes", one to keep and one to send, which are then distributed to children in distant lands by composer, educator and program founder John Zeretzke. Performances and workshops for children and teachers are provided and John returns to the U.S. classrooms with images, video clips and music created by the mission. This program engages each student in a deeper understanding of cultural traditions, geography, language and visual arts, music, and most importantly provides the lasting gift of positive service to the less fortunate.
Jewels of Elul
This website posts a 'Jewel' of inspiration on each of the 29 days of Elul. Deepak Chopra to the Dalai Lama and Kirk Douglas to Matisyahu and others share their thoughts on 'Hope and Healing'.
Project Ijtihad is a charitable initiative to promote the spirit of Ijtihad, Islam's own tradition of critical thinking, debate and dissent. It supports a positive vision of Islam that embraces diversity of choices, expression and spirituality.
Among the Righteous by Robert Satloff
A most brilliant ray of hope shines from a recent book by Robert Satloff, which reveals for the first time the heroic stories of Arabs who risked their lives to save Jews during the holocaust. By framing the Holocaust as a positive, constructive Arab story, the book counters two of the most virulent components of modern Jihadi culture: Holocaust denial and ignorance of Jewish history.(Judea Pearl, November, 2006)
Creative Peace Network
Based in Vancouver, Canada, the Creative Peace Network Society is a diverse group committed to promoting peace and understanding among people impacted by social and political conflicts. Palestinian, Israeli, and Canadian teenagers gather in and around Vancouver, British Columbia to participate in an extraordinary dialogue and filmmaking experience by producing several films together.
MidEastWeb was started by people active in Middle East dialogue and peace education efforts. Their goal is to weave a world-wide web of Arabs, Jews and others who want to build a new Middle East based on coexistence and neighborly relations. Members and staff include distinguished educators, engineers, Web designers and other professionals experienced in dialogue, peace education projects and in promoting dialogue and coexistence using the Internet.
||Hand in Hand – Bilingual Elementary Schools
The Gesher al HaWadi -- Bridge over the Wadi --
opened on September 1, 2004 and is one of three
“Hand in Hand” schools working to change the dynamic
between Arab and Jewish neighbors. Hand in Hand,
the centre for Jewish-Arab education was established
in 1997 with the goal of initiating and fostering
egalitarian, bilingual, multi-cultural education
for Jewish and Arab children. In each school there
are two principles, one Arab and one Jewish, in
each class a Jewish and Arab teacher, and the students are comprised of fifty percent Arab and fifty percent Jewish children.
Related articles and video:
for Common Ground
- School breaks down Israeli barriers
||Portraits of Israeli and Palestinian civilians working for peace
Just Vision has online the first 16 of 180 portraits
of civilians engaged in grassroots efforts to
advance peace in the Middle East. This is part
of a larger effort to highlight courageous Israelis
and Palestinians whose peace-related efforts receive
too little media attention. Just Vision’s website
also includes an interactive timeline of the history
of the conflict through the lens of individuals
committed to ending it and will include teachers'
guides, ways to get involved, audio, video and
text in Arabic and Hebrew.
and Arab Writers Met in Groundbreaking Literary
In an unprecedented gathering, Israeli, Palestinian
and Arab writers from around the world met
together at the Sheikh Hussein Bridge on Tuesday,
February 15, 2005. As an international crossing point
between Israel and Jordan, the bridge serves as
a powerful symbol of hope, a link to understanding
and a passageway over conflict. A brainchild of
international publishers and cultural institutions
that work with authors from the Middle East, the
one-day encounter provided a unique
platform for the sharing of views and experiences,
and an opportunity for voices from both sides of the
bridge to be heard. Through panels, readings and
discussions, relevant literary issues covering
a range of topics from translation to distribution
will also be discussed.
||All for Peace - Palestinian-Israeli Radio Aims to Unite
All For Peace radio, the only jointly run Israeli-Palestinian
radio in the Middle East. The station started
broadcasting music and talk radio over the Internet
in April and says it gets up to 10,000 hits a
day. In late 2004 a radio transmitter was put
in place to send its signal out over FM radio.
The station is a joint project of the Jewish-Arab
Centre for Peace at Givat Haviva and the Palestinian
organization Biladi, which publishes The Jerusalem
Times. The studio is in East Jerusalem, the transmitter
in Ramallah. Half the staff is Israeli, half Palestinian.
Some broadcasts are in Hebrew, others in Arabic.
AP Reports “In a region where the other side's
perspective is often drowned out by inflammatory
words, All for Peace wants to teach listeners
to disagree respectfully.”
||Arabs For Israel at Carnegie Mellon University
A group of Arabs and Muslims have started
a website to support the State of Israel and the Jewish
religion while still treasuring Arab and Islamic culture.
This effort is founded in the understanding that
Israel is a legitimate state that is not a threat
but an asset in the Middle East and that diversity
"should not be a virtue only in the USA, but should
be encouraged around the world." This group
supports "a diverse Middle East with protection
for human rights, respect and equality under the
law to all minorities including Jews and Christians"
and prides itself on not being anti-Islam, anti-Arab,
confrontational or hateful.
lawyer speaks to Jewish Group in Pittsburgh
Mohammed Odeh al-Rehaief, the Iraqi lawyer who
risked his life to save former prisoner of war
Jessica Lynch, spoke at a fund-raiser for the
Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh.
Forum for Literature and Culture
of Peace Petition to Free Bangladeshi Journalist
Sallah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, editor
of the weekly Blitz,
was arrested at
Zia International Airport in Dhaka, Bangladesh
in November 2003 for trying to travel to a writer's
conference in Israel. He was charged with sedition and jailed evoking strong reaction from the journalism community; five years later he is still on trial. Unfortunately, he is not the only journalist worldwide facing restriction of movement or arrest for trying to meet with colleagues. For
more information on attacks on the press, please
see the website of the
Committee to Protect Journalists
, an independent,
nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom
worldwide by defending the right of journalists
to report the news without fear of reprisal.
Muslim and Jewish groups work to improve understanding
In an effort to improve relations between Muslims
and Jews, Canada's Pakistani community has created
a journalism scholarship in memory of Daniel Pearl,
the Jewish reporter for The Wall Street Journal
who was murdered by Muslim extremists in Pakistan
Interfaith dialogues in Boston
Yusuf Muwwakkil was invited to travel to Turkey
last fall with a group of Jews, Christians, and
Muslims. Now he calls the 10-day bus journey by
45 "pilgrims," 15 from each religion,
one of the most important experiences of his life.
Sharing of Faith
An Interfaith Passover Seder reinforced Jewish
tradition and allowed others of the Abrahamic
faiths to rediscover their common cultural heritage.
An interesting Pakistani-Israeli tennis partnership
gained attention at the 2002 Wimbledon tournament.
By demonstrating that a Jew and a Muslim can play
together effectively and triumphantly, Hadad and
Qureshi have shown that common interest can triumph
over cultural barriers.
Peace and Dialog Resources
A listing of Dialog Groups and Initiatives. While there is still turmoil in the Middle East, we believe there is also hope. We have started gathering a list of peace-making activities taking place between Israelis and Palestinians, which we will continue to update.
Experiences in Dialog by Saida Nusseibeh
European Dialog groups.