In Berlin, an ambitious project may be launched soon, one common place of worship for three monotheistic religions, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The Judaism angle to the project makes it so very unique as this was the very place where Jews were persecuted. In a way this futuristic building is a beacon of hope, for interfaith harmony.

A group of Muslims, Christians and Jews is trying to crowdsource funds to build an interfaith place of worship, where all three can worship, it will be called, Berlin’s “House of One” is aiming to become the world’s first building to combine a church, a synagogue and a mosque under one roof, spearheading this idea was a Christian Pastor.

The combines church-mosque-synagogue will comprise of three distinct houses of worship, unique in shape yet equal in size, reiterating a conversation of interfaith.

This building emerged as the winner in an architecture competition, it was won by the local firm Kuehn Malvezz in 2012. Their proposal was for a modernist structure in which the three religions could pray in three seperate rooms and a fourth room with a high dome roof joining the prayer rooms, would host regular discussions and meetings between the three communities.

Since they couldn’t find any big donors and anyone can purchase a symbolic brick for 10 euros on the House of One website. They hope to gather 43.5 million euros by the start of 2016. You could ask why all this fuss for a building, well first its Berlin!, the country that is infamous for its persecution of Jews is going to house the first interfaith place of worship in the world. That is a huge leap forward and in this world where religious discord is contributing to a lot of problems and the world is at a stage where peace is required among religions. Interfaith harmony is paramount today. When an initiative like this is undertaken be it in any country it is to be encouraged and applauded because a dialogue has to begin somewhere.

This building is more symbolic than anything else, with rooms of equal size ensuring equality among religions and a symbol for interfaith harmony. We often underestimate the power of a structure, like the Taj Mahal, it is a standing reminder of love. The Eiffel tower, the Liberty statue and the Vatican. All these are powerful and remain standing for centuries. Though this may not be such a historic building, but one does hope it is constructed and raised to stand witness to a beautiful harmony among three of the world’s largest religions and also other religions. There is a similar building being conceptualized in Nebraska, America, it is a tri-faith building.

House of One is a beautiful thought and idea which needs to see the light of day and it can also start the process in Berlin to heal old scars. The organizers say they will keep the initiative alive regardless of funding and the campaign’s outcome. Even if they reach 10 million euros they will invest in a basic version of the building otherwise the money will go towards projects that support religious tolerance.

Three weeks after it launch, 378 individuals donated 18,700 euros, if this goes on then in no time can the building be raised and I for one would love to see a beacon of hope and a messenger of faith arise from Berlin. Peace among religions is always welcome and one hopes that the House of One will see the light of day soon.

While gunfire and violence is rallying between Israel and Gaza, these days there has been an addition to the massive menu of an Iftar party or the feast after fasting for 40 days during Ramadan by Muslims, an addition worth writing about and worth following around the world, it is the newest addition to the Iftar parties around the world, It is the message of peace and tolerance. So cliched right, well this may just be the cure for half the conflict that ails the world. Muslims and Jews have had a conflict ridden relationship and what seems like a small step towards building peace there has been there has been a surge of Muslim-Jewish Iftar’s in America.

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. For the entire month, observers of Islam fast from sunrise to sunset, during that time no food or drink is consumed and thoughts must be kept pure. Muslims believe fasting teaches them patience, modesty and spirituality. There are two meals served one before sunrise and one after sunset (Iftar) and eaten with family or the local community.

Ramadan is the holiest month in Islam, Muslims believe that God first revealed verses of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad during Ramadan. So it is extremely significant and also surprising when there is an event of your calendar that reads ‘Iftar at the Synagogue”, a Synagogue being the Jewish temple. Organizations working towards peace between Muslims and Jews have been organizing these events since Muslims mostly break their fast with family and close community, seeing them break their fast with Jews is a a very inspiring phenomena.

Since the dietary restrictions are very strict, meals are prepared in accordance with both Muslims and Jews, so Kosher and Halal dominates the food section. Interfaith Iftar’s have sprung up all over America and are setting the trend of a much needed interfaith dialogue in times like these.

American Presidents have also helped set the trend, with former President George W Bush hosting the first Ramadan Iftar at the White House in 2001 and current President Obama has hosted Iftar’s every year he’s been in office.

The mood at these Iftar’s is of jubilation, it is also tinted somberly because of the violence between Israel and Gaza, as one organizer says that the entire point of the new interfaith Iftar is to pray for the lives lost and try to find a way to move ahead.

To those abiding in Israel and Gaza, violence hasn’t brought about anything good. How about breaking bread with each other, the two religions have a lot in common and need to find a way to come together peacefully be it over sherbet and dates. These interfaith Iftar’s may be a small step in encouraging interfaith dialogue, but when it comes to peace every step we take counts. Not just between Jews and Muslims, every other religion needs to come together and Ramadan may just be the ideal time to reflect and make a choice to love thy neighbor.

Religious freedom is the most inalienable and sacred of all human rights and a fundamental right indispensable in the diverse societies of the modern world. Since the potential for animosity is greatest where differences are most profound or where majorities dominate, freedom of religion is critical because it allows people with differing convictions about the deepest matters of truth to live together peacefully. A careful regard for this freedom protects all groups and individuals, including the most vulnerable, religious or not. When honored, religious freedom helps to avert violence and to mediate conflict.

Freedom of religion implies the right of man to choose any religion and can be exercised through the right to faith, expressing the religion and religious beliefs, and freedom to practice the rituals, teaching the religion to the children and the religious and promoting the religious teachings in the society, putting up shrines, abandoning faith and abandoning the religion (apostasy), abandoning the religious acts, and questioning the religious teachings, as long as his religious acts does not deprive the right or the freedom of others or does not breach the public peace or order.

All the religions in the world like Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism; to name a few; have religious freedom as core tenets of their philosophy. Take the case of Christianity. The example and teachings of Jesus constitute a final appeal in favor of religious freedom. Jesus’ use of persuasion rather than coercion, his renunciation of armed protection, and his acceptance of death over retaliation established an enduring ideal of charitable communication and interaction between Christians and non-Christians. In Biblical theology, freedom of religion concedes that, in the final analysis, it’s not about religion; it’s about relationship. God does not desire an external form of worship but a personal relationship with His children (Matthew 15:7-8). No amount of government control can produce such a relationship. The bible preaches that faith is commanded but never coerced.

From an Islamic perspective, the prohibition of compulsion in religious matters is a fundamental Qur’anic principle: true faith is based on free will and free choice. Contrary to the widespread misperception, freedom of religion is enshrined in the Holy Quran, the sacred texts of the Muslims. The Qur’anic verse, “Let there be no compulsion in religion” is proverbial and regarded as expressing a fundamental Islamic value. According to the Islamic morality, people are free to choose whatever beliefs they wish, and nobody can oblige anyone else in subjects of belief. Hinduism, the oldest and the third largest religion in the world also propagates freedom of religion and worship in its principles. In large part Hinduism is based on a series of texts that contain the teachings of the religion. One of the main tenets of Hinduism is the belief in the freedom of worship. That means that Hindus are free to believe in any god they desire and to worship him in any way that they desire. . Hinduism is a syncretical religion, welcoming and incorporating a variety of outside influences. Intellectually there is complete freedom of belief, and one can be monotheist, polytheist, or atheist.

An account of the propagation of the doctrine of freedom of religion in the three diverse religions examined above shows that the principle is central to all faiths though the mode of delivering the tenet may vary. Religious freedom is assumed to be a universal value that is safely enshrined in varied cultures around the globe. Religious Freedom is a subject that prophets and apostles of various religions have continually advocated in the history of human civilization, and in current times, when some vested groups promote religious animosity through misinterpretation of religious teachings, the various contemporary religious figureheads must unanimously come out to ensure that the tenet of religious freedom is not silenced by intimidation or threatening rhetoric.

In a laudable initiative, Muslims in Zambia have undertaken a series of work to give the true message of Islam and debunk the ideology of sectarianism and hatred promoted by groups such as Taliban and Boko Haram. In June 2014, the Zambian Muslim community hosted a two day conference to promote the true face of Islam and convey to the world that true ideology of Islam and at the same time correcting the image of Islam which is constantly tarnished by vested terrorist groups like Boko Haram. Organized by the Islamic Council of Zambia, the conference took the form of an interactive program which aimed at correcting the distorted image of Islam, and raising awareness about its virtues of tolerance.

The Islamic Council of Zambia gave its full support to Badru Kisalita, a Ugandan Muslim preacher in organizing this awareness event. Kisalita has been working continuously to correct the image of Islam tarnished by vested sectarian groups having parochial interests. At the interactive session, Kisalita aptly pointed out that Islam is a peaceful religion and so are its followers but unfortunately; the image of the religion is being tarnished by a few individuals with political motives. The program condemned the actions of the Nigerian based terror group Boko Haram in most stringent terms. All the scholars and theologians at the event were unanimous in their condemnation of n the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls in the Chibok area of Borno state in Nigeria. Kisalita and other leading speakers were of the opinion that the action of Boko Haram were the very anti-thesis of the principles of Islam.

Besides condemning the violence which some parochially motivated groups undertake for the vested interests exploiting religious sentiments, the two day event also focused on the major socio-economic issues faced by the Muslim community in Zambia and Africa as whole. Some major issues that were discussed pertained to gender-based violence, terrorism and the ravaging effects of poverty. As such the interactive sessions gave insights about the Islamic dress code for women, the importance of hygiene, and why Muslims practice polygamy. Moreover, initiatives were also taken at the interactive event to promote the awareness about HIV AIDS and suggesting effective measures to tackle the menacing health issues.

The awareness event was also an embodiment of communal harmony. The organizers of the event must be praised for inviting the followers of religion other than Islam to the event. It looks as the event did play its role, albeit small, in creating communal harmony and achieved success in the objective of conveying the true teachings of Islam to members of other religions who attended the event. Many non-Muslim Zambians who attended the program described it as an eye-opener. John Zulu, a Christian Baptist, a Christian Baptist who attended the conference pronounced later that he and other members of the Christian community gathered valuable insights about the true teachings of Islam. Another non-Muslim attendee named Mellisa Salone mentioned that she now came to know the true principles and virtues of Islam as opposed to her earlier perception that Islam was a religion centered primarily on violence.

The activities of the Islamic Council of Zambia have also gone a long way in propagating the true virtues and principles of Islam. In July 2014, Muslim community in Zambia under the aegis of the Islamic Council of Zambia launched a mass Ramadan charity campaign in Zambia. The Muslim community donated assorted gifts including foodstuff to needy communities including schools, hospitals and prisons. The Islamic Council of Zambia Council Secretary-General Sheik Shaban Phiri said that the aim of the campaign was not only to help Muslims, but also to reach out to the non-Muslim communities nationwide in Zambia. Apart from the donation activities, the Islamic Council is also currently undertaking community development programs such drilling and sinking of boreholes in compounds where water is difficult to access. The Muslim society has already sunk about 10 boreholes in five compounds where people earlier had difficulties in accessing water resources. The organization also aims at building and renovation of some damaged school infrastructures in selected school compounds all over Zambia.

The Islamic Council of Zambia should serve as a role model for all secular minded Islamic institutions and individuals globally and the latter should emulate both the charitable activities as well as the awareness raising programmes in their respective regions of operation. Such initiatives will go a long way in presenting the true virtues of Islam based on peaceful co-existence and universal brotherhood, to a wider global audience.

Interfaith marriages had been forbidden by societies in the past ages, but as it is said “forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest” many have rowed against the current and have been married past religious restrictions. Interfaith marriages are becoming more common worldwide. Historically when two faiths come together, one person in the partnership converts to the spouse’s religion but there has been a dramatic increase in the proportion of couples where both partners maintain their own separate religious beliefs and practices.

In age old practices it was seen that one of the partner in the matrimony accepts the religion of the other as it was unacceptable for families to go against the religion. But in recent days this trend seems to changing, people are marrying without being in the boundaries of religion; both the partners accept the religion of their better halves without demanding for conversion to their own religion.

Christians and Jews are marrying, Hindu and Muslims are marrying and so on, and it is happening everywhere almost in every country. Marriage is a social, rather than a religious undertaking. Maintaining the proper relations and duties between the partners will aid them to spend happy life together. However, the nature of those relations and duties will vary with the culture.

External pressures on interfaith couples vary according to the level in which tolerance and pluralism are considered positive values by the larger society. If one decides to jot down the pro and cons of interfaith marriages that would make almost a similar listing as that of ordinary intra religion marriages. The one thing that would be highlighted in this process is respecting the religion of your better half and also continuing your belief system without being forced to change your roots.

Interfaith marriage opens a wide aspect to look at the religion of your partner without being bigot of your religion. The concept has much wider effect beyond familial acceptance, marrying someone of another faith makes you more likely to have a positive impression of that faith as a whole. It makes them look at their partner’s religion without prejudice or guilt.

One such example came across through a debate carried on in UK, where Lord Scott, a former Supreme Court judge cited about his own family where one of his daughters is married to a Muslim and one of his sons is married to a Muslim girl. He talked about how the perspective of the whole family changed towards the religion Islam when the family experienced no much change in the humanitarian value of his offspring. He advocated the concepts that inter faith marriages especially those involving Christians and Muslims would definitely help to reduce the rift between the two religions and cultures. To strengthen the cause the government has made forceful marriages and conversion without will of the person a criminal act punishable by the law.

Interfaith relationships provide a sandbox for theorizing questions of religious difference. They feature pronounced, conflicting particularities of explicitly different religious traditions. Interreligious relationships are the perfect container for examining human otherness in concrete terms that are crucial to the lives of both interlocutors and basically to any human who has ever had human contact.

We tend to be afraid of something that we lack knowledge about or have half baked or superficial information when people decide for inter religious matrimony both are of the open minded and ready to accept the partner with his or her belief. Certainly people pose questions about the longevity of such matrimony but how much would religious belief matter in maintaining any kind of relation?

Interreligious marriage, of course, is demonized in certain religious communities as a cause of attrition and a display of disloyalty. But does that make sense? With acceptance of one’s religious belief there is need for wider outlook towards the wider benefit. If a couple is willing to marry interreligiously, it probably follows that they are less anxious about the religious difference to begin with.

Interfaith marriage is a gigantic, convoluted, incredibly important issue. Religious intermarriage as it reflects interaction in an open society is a gauge of changing social structures and norms. The extent to which interfaith marriage is possible and the degree of social and religious institutions’ acceptance of interfaith couples indicate the breadth and depth of such changes. Considering a hypothetical situation where religions in conflict are allowed to solemnize inter religious matrimony would it not open more chance of resolving the disputes or at least give them a chance to think widely about the issue instead of targeting and killing the adversary?

Political friction can be reduced and so will the fear of one’s faith or religion. As it was rightly quoted by Kofi Annan, “We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race.” Then why to forbid a relation that ensures respect and peace not only for two individuals but for the whole world. Religion is a formidable force in both our public and our private lives in the end; however, religious differences may not be all that different from the other differences every couple must navigate. Initiatives need to be incorporated to bring people who have chosen to accord peace between religion on their level over inherited ignorance and misunderstandings, success stories need to be put out to make people understand the reality instead of blindly accepting the friction that has existed for years long.

Within six months of his papacy, he was trying to get the word out to the world, in a letter addressing the questions of atheists he spoke about how being good counted and he said “..if we, each doing our own art, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little…But do good: we will meet on another there..” He urged them to abide by their conscience. This remark about atheists being in heaven sparked a controversy in Rome and in Catholics around the world, but the Vatican later released an explanation for the statement. The Pope continued to emphasize on the need to be good human beings above all.

Christians and Muslims have been at loggerheads for a while now and while the last Pope made the drift wider with his comments. Pope Francis set out to mend bridges, while he wasn’t the first Pope to call Muslims as brothers; he definitely made an effort to undo the damage done, by reaching out to Muslims around the world. . At a meeting on Friday, March 22, the 76 year old Pontiff said “It is not possible to establish true links with God while ignoring other people,” he added ardently, “I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam.”

Pope Francis understood the need for peace that stems from interfaith dialogue and has been systematically reaching out to different faiths to establish communication. He made an early start by inviting leaders like Bartholomew I, the first Eastern Orthodox patriarch who attended a Papal investiture since his Christian church split with Rome in 1053, there were a Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, who knew and understood that Pope Francis pledged to promote “friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions.”

As the world watches this affable, generous and a rather cool Pope visit Mosques, talk to world leaders about peace. Even though his preaching isn’t radical, he chooses to be non judgmental. By spreading peace and acceptance, he refused to judge the gay man, he welcomed atheists and other faiths. He spoke above all about peace and love in the world, which precisely makes him the ultimate outreach vehicle in the world for peace.

On November 26th 2012, world leaders, religious leaders and ministers from all over the world gathered for the launch of the King Abdullah Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID).

A global initiative by Saudi King Abdullah, a neutral centre for interfaith and intercultural dialogue was launched, the king convened representatives from all segments of the Muslim world in Mecca to support his call for Islam to engage the other world religions in addressing the global challenges of our time.

Saudi King Abdullah visited Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in 2007; where he came up with the idea of having such a center where Christians and Muslims could promote messages of peace to the world. In 2008 this idea was followed up with an interfaith meeting in Mecca and another one in Madrid where Jews were invited. Finally in 2009 in Vienna, all parties agreed on the basic setup of the organization.

To truly make this a credible venture, the king enlisted various leading religious institutions as partners’ starting with the Vatican, which was enlisted as partner in founding the interfaith center. Many around the world raised eyebrows with the leading Christian leaders cooperating with the Saudis in an interfaith dialogue, when their Christian communities have trouble worshipping openly in Saudi Arabia.

However, top Christian leaders felt that they needed to be involved in this project for that very reason. To ensure that religion is a source of blessing and not abused for conflict and violence. That’s why KAICIID was established by the three equal nati

onal partners; Austria, Spain and the leading nation Saudi Arabia as an international organization under Austrian law. Its directorship is constitutionally managed by a nine-member board consisting of three Christians; the Vatican, the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate, and the archbishop of Canterbury, three prominent Muslim scholars; two Sunni and one Shiite, one Jew, one Hindu and one Buddhist. It will also consist of 100 representatives that include religious leaders, professors, and civic leaders of other faiths in addition to the faiths of the governing body.

Michael Spindelegger, Foreign Minister of Austria, stated that the structure of the center ensures that no religion dominates the organization and it remains open for membership to all interested nations. On its site itself KAICIID states “Located in Vienna, the Centre is an independent, autonomous, international organization, free of political or economic influence”.

The site also states that its mission is to act as a hub, facilitating interreligious and intercultural dialogue and understanding, to enhance cooperation, respect for diversity, justice and peace. The center seeks to be a hub for interfaith work internationally and to provide state-of-the-art technology to help empower this work; it also explicitly seeks to address situations where religion is abused and exploited for violence and conflict, and to ensure that religion is part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

Even though this initiative come from the very heart of the Muslim world and the country that serves as custodians of the two holiest shrines on Islam, where other religions are known to not be given much importance. This move is being welcomed, as a gradual change in attitude is being seen. This desire for maintaining world peace is what makes this interfaith initiative very special.

This organization has gained prominence in the arena of interfaith dialogue, with the United Nations tying up with them for various initiatives, like peace conferences and special interfaith day etc. Only time will tell if interfaith dialogue or one world religion is the answer to conflicts around the world.

On 12th march 2013, when the church bells pealed and white smoke emanated from the Sistine chapel’s chimney, history was being created. The 266th Pope elect Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina had a long list of firsts. He was the first pope from the Americas, the first Jesuit pope and so on. His choice of the papal name Francis had a special significance; he was inspired deeply by Saint Francis of Assisi, who was known for his acts of kindness and love for the poor.

Not discounting the previous Popes, but Pope Francis came in with the utmost humility and a twinkle in his eye and may have just changed the image of the otherwise rigid Catholic Church. His first public appearance, he asked the people to pray for him instead of just administering a blessing. He feels strongly against extravagance and chooses to continue living a simple life, he urges others in the faith to choose a simplicity, he chides some for their spending, reminding them, that they are servants of God. There is something so unique about him; with just a word or a gesture he has started mending bridges between the Catholic Church and the people. He doesn’t turn away the children who come to him, embraces a severely disfigured man with so much compassion, that he touches your heart and manages to reach out to the atheists. A man who has a congregation of 1.2 billion members’ world over wouldn’t be expected to wash and kiss the feet of the inmates, feed the homeless personally but he does. He makes every attempt to reach out to the poor. With one statement he put the sexual minorities at ease. People in different walks of life, who felt they were let down by the Catholic Church are finding their way back to the church slowly and gradually, but the change can be seen it’s being dubbed the ‘Francis effect’.

He made it to the cover of the Rolling Stones magazine and was awarded the person of the year by Time magazine. He is the first Pope to have taken a selfie and driven a ford focus. He may be the only Pope who was a bouncer at a pub in his early days. His scientific background as a student of chemistry, psychology etc means the soured relationship between science and religion has just got a fresh start. Pope Francis spells hope and talks about mercy and forgiveness. He doesn’t just talk about it in Latin, he tweets it. He’s the peoples Pope and in these dark days of over exposure and every shrinking boundaries, he’s reaching out to everyone and assuring them that happiness is for everyone. Corruption charges and the consecration of power in Rome are issues that have plagued the church. His appointment of cardinals from all over the world instead of keeping the power in Rome and discussing the finances of the church was seen as a positive step towards increasing the transparency of the church that prides its secrecy, in his campaign against sexual abuse, he reached out to victims and assured them that they are not alone. In a first he hired one of the victims of sexual abuse to work with church to fight the rampant sexual abuse and its subsequent cover ups. The corruption and sexual abuse cases against the Catholic Church are piling and it isn’t all smooth sailing, but with Pope Francis at the helm, we can be assured a change and true action.

In his first year as a pontiff, he spoke widely about humility, simple living and interreligious dialogue. In one of his speeches he said the title ‘Pontiff’ meant “builder of bridges” and he intended to do exactly that and open a dialogue between different faiths and mend the divisions. Islamic leaders welcomed the selection of Pope Francis, his prior work in Argentina for interfaith dialogue comforted Islamic leaders, especially after the previous Pope’s comments were seen as not being very conducive for forming relations with Muslims. Pope Francis said “An attitude of openness in truth and in love must characterize the dialogue with the followers of non-Christian religions, in spite of various obstacles and difficulties, especially forms of fundamentalism on both sides”.

His ability to form these interfaith dialogues comes from his years as a Bishop and then Cardinal in Argentina, where he spent time working to restore relations between different faiths and the Catholic Church. He brought together leaders of different faiths in Buenos Aries to pray for peace in the Middle East. Orthodox Christians and Catholics have been estranged for years now, Pope Francis was very keen on bringing them together and the first sign of reconciliation could be seen at his installation ceremony where an orthodox leader was in attendance, something that hasn’t happened in years. The world can be assured that interfaith dialogues will continue and there will be a change because this Pope believes in walking the talk. He isn’t a big fan of rituals, doesn’t like when people are make him out to be a superman. We do understand he’s a human and will make mistakes, we may not agree with every stand he takes, the beautiful thing about him is he understands that too. Instead he focuses on peace and spreading love, he urges his churches to be merciful and open hearted. He’s preaching the gospel of love and we’re listening. Saint Francis of Assisi has a worthy namesake.

The call for prayer or Azan rings out unified five times a day in Egypt and the pace of this country is dictated by their faith. When a country like Egypt faces a crisis, religion has a very important part to play. Egypt’s history is tumultuous and is marred by many instances of religious fanaticism. Egypt’s principal religion is Islam, with over 94% of the country’s population being Muslim. Sunni Muslims make up for the majority. The other major institution of faith in Egypt are the Coptic Christians, they are an ancient sect of the orthodox church of Alexandria, which was established by Saint Mark. In the recent struggle for democracy the Christians and the Muslims fought side by side, displaying a spirit of unity and tolerance. The fight against a bad regime was at the core of the struggle. The longest serving president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak had to step down in 2011 after there was a violent clash between his supporters and his dissenters, among who the latter wanted to, overthrow his regime and establish a democracy.

A new Egypt was to be formed, but in the first election that ever happened, an Islamic group called the Muslim Brotherhood formed a party and won, a party that was earlier banned from any form of political involvement. This victory raised a new wave of protest ultimately leading in deposing the party and their members. The then president Mohamed Morsi was imprisoned and the party was banned for being a terrorist organization after less than a year in power. This political unrest has put Egypt in a very fragile state and the ripples of these uprisings can be felt even as far as South East Asia.

This doesn’t mean that every country having Islam as their dominant religion go through these struggles. ‘Pancasila’ is a secular oriented ideology devised by former President Soekarno of Indonesia, a relevant component of the ideology is that, this requires belief in a single God, but it doesn’t have to belong to a particular religion. Indonesia went through its own upheaval and moved from an authoritarian regime to a very successful democracy. The journey wouldn’t have been all smooth, but despite radical factors and one dominant religion, the country’s religious ideologies based on freedom of religion have curbed violence and helped the country grow. Egypt is seen as a rich country with a magnificent history and rich resources and also the birthplace of three world religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam, embracing these differences and focusing on building a strong government for the people of Egypt should be the priority. Religious freedom should be accepted as a given for the country to progress.