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Mohammed Abu-Nimer

Interreligious Dialogue in a Pandemic Reality: Between Priority and Luxury

The virus has changed the world as we used to know it, touching all areas of life. While the pandemic affects everybody, some communities start from a disadvantaged point, these contrasts may cause escalation of tensions or violence among different groups. With pressing economics and social issues prevailing, interreligious dialogue could appear to be a luxury, not a necessity. The COVID reality has casted a shadow on the field of IRD, but it has also proved to be an opportunity to develop new methodologies and pedagogical tools that can be imp implemented online to overcome this shadow. Especially during times of crisis, many people turn to religious leaders for the important role they play in helping cope mentally, spiritually, and even in relief actions. COVID-19’s new reality has forced many religious leaders to rethink their role and responsibilities towards their own and other communities. Some developed new and creative ways for reaching out and providing spiritual support, as well as reconnecting with other faith groups. Many interreligious initiatives are carried out as a form of interfaith solidarity to cope with the implications of the pandemic. What are the lessons learned from these initiatives?  What are the best multifaith strategies that can be deployed by Faith Based organizations (FBPOs) and religious leaders in such context? What are the sources of resistance to engage with IRD during the COVID-19? What are the implications of this Pandemic on Interreligious actors to engage in effective dialogue?  The discussion and responses to these questions will be based on the author extensive experience working with religious leaders during the pandemic; survey that was conducted with KAICIID Fellows; and nonstructural informal interviews with selected practitioners in the field of Interreligious dialogue.

Organisational Contact

Dr.phil. MA

Lukas Waltl

Institut für Öffentliches Recht und Politikwissenschaft

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