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MennoMedia documentary “Waging Peace” to air on ABC-TV

   
 


The story of Muslim and Christian women working together on a quilt at Floradale Mennonite Church (Ont.) is one of several inspiring but obscure stories revealed in Waging Peace Muslim and Christian Alternatives. The quilt eventually found its way to Palestinian refugees

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Mennonite Church Canada/MennoMedia joint release
October 13, 2011
- Melodie Davis

WATERLOO, Ont. and HARRISONBURG, Va.—  The recent 10-year commemorations of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks examined how the world has changed as a result, with many commentators noting profound distrust and animosity among some Christians and Muslims.

But a new one-hour documentary reveals a more positive side to Muslim-Christian relations. Waging Peace: Muslim and Christian Alternatives, airing this fall on ABC-TV stations, examines courageous threads of peace also quietly being sown around the world.

Mennonite Pastor Fred Redekop (Floradale Mennonite Church, Ont.) and Muslim Imam Shafiq Hudda began having breakfast together, which led to getting their faith communities involved in conversation, meals, and volunteer projects, including making and knotting comforters together to give to refugees. Muslim students have also begun attending Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener-Waterloo, and students and parents alike appreciate the opportunities to share friendship as well as discuss similar interests in faith, world history, and politics.

Philip Clayton, dean of Claremont School of Theology and provost of Claremont Lincoln University, an interreligious consortium of schools, observes how common goals can result from differences. “There remain certain sharp differences between Christianity and Islam.  The two can’t sort of be brought together into one little synthesis as if they’re really saying the same thing.  But from a peacemaking perspective, that’s exactly the point where our interest should begin.”

Jihad Turk, director of religious affairs for the Islamic Center of Southern California, adds that “Most scholars historically have suggested that the rule in Islam is peace, but one can defend themselves when under attack, either by being compelled out of their faith or out of their land.” But, as he points out, “in fact, the Koran says very clearly to take one innocent human life is as if you take the life of all of humanity.  And to save one innocent life is as if you save the life of all of humanity.”

The documentary is intended to help communities find creative ways to build peaceful and just relationships, says producer Burton Buller. “The basic concept is that while Christianity and Islam both have warrior-like histories and those who take up the sword in the name of faith, another reality exists. In this time of mistrust and war, some Muslims and Christians are dedicating their lives to the pursuit of peace.”

Waging Peace was produced by Buller Films for Third Way Media, in cooperation with Inner-Attainment TV. It will air on selected ABC TV stations between Oct. 23 and Dec. 18. Churches are encouraged to call their local ABC TV stations to urge them to air the documentary. Initial funding for the Waging Peace documentary was provided through a grant from Odyssey Networks and smaller foundations and individuals. A two-minute preview of Waging Peace can be viewed at www.WagingPeaceAlternatives.com. It will be available for purchase at the same site after Nov. 1 for is $27.95 in Canada and $24.95 in the U.S.

MennoMedia was founded on July 1, 2011, in Harrisonburg, Va., from the merger of Mennonite Publishing Network and Third Way Media. MennoMedia is a ministry of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA.

Sidebar: Documentary shares on-the-ground stories

A new documentary, Waging Peace: Muslim and Christian Alternatives examines courageous threads of peace quietly being sown around the world as one response to experiences of distrust and animosity among some Christians and Muslims since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. 

The documentary follows several stories:
  • Christian Peacemaker Teams in the Middle East. Beth Pyles and Peggy Gish talk about applying the peace teachings of Jesus in violent situations in Iraq and other places. They have been part of numerous missions to that region.
  • Interfaith training in California. Claremont School of Theology, long a respected seminary for training Christian leaders, founded, along with Jewish and Muslim scholars, the Claremont Lincoln University offering religious training in all three faith traditions.
  • Peace camp in Virginia. An interfaith peace camp in Harrisonburg, Va., builds bridges of understanding for children and families from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths. Children use art, writing, speaking, recreation, play, and role-play, and they visit Christian, Jewish, and Muslim places of worship.
  • Muslims and Baptist Christians share their perspectives and internal conflict on being neighbouring houses of worship in a community in California.
  • A health clinic established by a group of Muslim medical students serves their low-income neighbours.
  • Interfaith Youth Core brings together young people of different religious traditions in cooperative service to others, and dialogue around shared values.

MennoMedia is a ministry of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA.