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Welcome to the Trialogue Foundation!

The aim of the Trialogue Foundation is to stimulate the dialogue and Trialogue between the Abrahamitic faith groups, Judaism, Christianity and Islam; with the emphasis on world peace, which depends on peace between religions.
The Trialogue Foundation tries to reach this through lectures, workshops and discussions and by publishing books and lessons.

The Trialogue Foundation has a Board, as well as an Advisory Committee of experts from the three traditions; see also the index page.

Furthermore Dr.Francien van Overbeeke-Rippen is connected to the Foundation. She is a pedagogue and a theologian. In 1998 she completed a doctorate on the relationship Islam-Christianity. Before that she worked alongside her husband on a development project in Pakistan for five years. To contribute to the dialogue and trialogue she gives lectures and workshops, leads discussion groups, writes books and creates educational lessons in English and Dutch.

Film
The Trialogue Foundation has co-operated with ‘Initiatives of Change’ to get the DVD The Imam and the Pastor subtitled in Dutch. This is a 40 min. DVD about peace and reconciliation between two fighting faith groups in Nigeria.

Good News!
2008 has been a remarkable year for the imam and the pastor. They toured the world to show their movie and bring their message. Both went to Kenya twice after the violence during the voting in the beginning of 2008. Followed by Canada, the west coast, to work with different kind of ethnical groups in seven cities. Inspired by these groups, imam Soharwardy decided to start in Calgary with a six month ‘walk for peace’ throughout Canada to call upon Muslims en Christians to be against violence.
In April and May were the premieres of the movie, showing in Geneva, Paris and then Berlin in two languages; French and German. The Swiss broadcast company showed the movie in the German and Italian language.
In the fall imam Soharwardy and the pastor flew together to Australia for a three week trip. They made many speeches and conferences explaining their motivation. A local television company was among them to record and broadcast an interview. ‘Although we are not completely agreeing when discussing our faith, we are children of Abraham and sons of Adam and as such we owe each other something. The biggest problem is ignorance’, said the imam and the pastor. On their way back from Australia they visited Cyprus, where they gave a conference at the yearly held ‘World Prayer for Peace’, organized by the Roman Catholic St.Egidio community and the Greek Orthodox church.
The relation between the two groups in Nigeria is still tense. The inter religion negotiation center in Kaduna is standing by and ready to interact if an ethnic-religious conflict starts. Teams of imams and reverents are sent, trained by the imam and the pastor.

‘Abraham and Ibrahim’ 
Bridge Resources of the Presbyterian Church of America has published the English translation of the Dutch Ibrahim en Abraham (written by Francien van Overbeeke-Rippen), with a new Study Guide based upon the American teaching methods, written by Kenneth and Margaret Thomas. They tell about it:
The book was used for religious education in schools in the Netherlands. The stories from the Bible and the Qur’an are presented side-by-side to invite dialogue and exploration into the faiths of Christianity and Islam.
The book is divided into eight units (of stories, each story with its references to Bible and Qur’an), and a Study Guide for each unit plus resource are found in the back of the book. Abraham and Ibrahim: The Bible and the Qur’an Told to Children can be used in classrooms, as a part of a mid-week program, or in individual homes. Each session comes with two options: one session for Muslim and Christian children together, and one session for Christian children. Designed primarily for older elementary children (ages 8-10), this resource can be used with people of all ages as a tool to become more mature in their own faith by becoming knowledge about the faith of their friends.
The text of Abraham and Ibrahim is positioned on the pages to reflect the sources. The text on the left is from the Bible, the text on the right is from the Qur’an, and the text in the middle is from both.

Available at Foundation’s address. Price € 10 + forwarding-charges.

ABRAHAM AND IBRAHIM ON-LINE

The Presbytrian Church of America has made available their electronic files of the book to our Trialogue Foundation to enable its free distributon all over the world.With thanks to them we now present on-line for free reading: (click on link) Abraham and Ibrahim – text book 

  • for more brotherhood
  • for more relationship
  • for more common history
  • for more affinity
  • for more peace in the name of God

Tanah, Bible, Qur’an – Abrahams Children
Abraham, ancestor of Jews, Christians and Muslims, is the common patriarchfor Tanach, Bible and Qurán. Also the history of Islam begins with Abraham.
Abraham, first named Abram, was called by God. He had to leave his father’s house and his living place Haran because the people did wrong things. They made idols and bowed down to them; this is called ‘shirk’. Even Ibrahim’s father did so. Therefore, Ibrahim destroyed all idols, except the biggest one.
When the people asked Ibrahim, “Is it you who did this to our gods?” he said, “Nay, this was done by the biggest one. Ask him!” This put the people to shame, because they knew very well that a statue cannot speak. Finally they said to Ibrahim, “You know that such a statue can’t talk.” Then he replied, “So, instead of Allah, you worship something that helps you in no way? Do you have no sense?”
This made the people angry and they wanted to set Ibrahim on fire. But Allah saved him from the fire and sent him away from these people, the Qur’an tells us.
The Bible tells that Abraham was 75 years old when he left his father’s place, together with his wife Sara, his nephew Lot,  his cattle and all his servants, male and female. And although Abraham and Sara had no children, God promised them a son and many descendants. But when Abraham’s age was 85 years, there were still no children. Then Sara told Abraham to go to her slave girl Hagar to get with her a son who would become Sara’s son.
Abraham did so and in the next year Ishmael was born.
Fourteen years later God anew promised to Abraham the son; with him He would make a covenant forever. But Abraham asked God to make that covenant with Ishmael. God said: “Surely, I will bless Ishmael as you are his father: He will be the father of twelve princes and I will make a great nation of his descendants. But I will establish my covenant with the son born to you and Sarah, Ishaak, as we agreed.” And God’s token of the covenant was the circumcision of all males from eight days old who lived with Abraham, including Ishmael and Abraham himself. One year later Ishaak was born and when he was eight days old he was circumcised.
After a few years Sarah wanted Ishmael to leave with his mother. God told in a dream to Abraham that He would protect mother and child. He gave them a place in the desert of Paran and again He promised to give many children to her son, so that they would become a great nation, the Bible tells us.
Ishmael became a skillful hunter. Although he was living now far away from his father, Abraham didn’t forget him. In the Qur’an is written that father and son together built a house for the Lord in Ishmael’s new dwelling place, the Ka’ba in Makkah, or Mecca. In that place Ibrahim prayed to Allah for himself and for both of his sons. “O my Lord!”he said, “make this city a city of peace and security; and preserve me and my sons from worshiping idols. Because they indeed lead many people astray.”
The Bible gives in Genesis 25 the names of the twelve sons of Ishmael and also the names of the six sons of Ketura, Abraham’s wife after Sarah’s death. They all went with their great cattles to Arabia, there was still enough place to graze.
When Abraham died, his sons Ishmael and Ishaak together burried him.
Ishaaks descendants became the nation of the Israelites. They were led out of Egypt by Moses, called by God. In the Desert of Sinai on the mountain of Horeb God renewed his covenant with the Israelites. He gave to Moses his Ten Commands and many other instructions.
The Koran tells this to the Ishmaelites because they didn’t hear about it as they had moved to Arabia. They also didn’t know the Commandments and all other instructions given by God. Yet God had promised a blessing also to them and that requires a correct style of living. Therefore it is not amazing that, even many centuries later, a descendant of Ishmael, Mohammed, in 610 was called by the Almighty via the angel Djibril (Gabriel), to be God’s prophet for the Arabian children of Abraham and to give them His messages with commands. All these messages have been gathered into the Qur’an. And the most important message is: Say: “He is Allah, the Only.”
In the messages only God Himself is speaking. He tells about what happened in the past before Mohammed’s time, He gives him His Commands and instruction and also how he had to approach his people. And an important text is saying: “If you are in doubt, go to the people of the Book; for they read the Book before your time.” This is  the earliest call to get in dialogue and trialogue with Jews and Christians.
Mohammed has done so. And up till now Abraham’s children are in contact with each other about the God of Abraham. This contact is going on, world wide.

Interreligious Learning in Primary Schools with Stories from the Bible and the Koran

Introduction
In Primary Education, the need for interreligious learning is growing, especially where, in one classroom, children of different faiths are learning together. Usually those are Jews, Christians and Muslims – the Abrahamitic faith groups.
Therefore, the content of this article will be limited to these three groups of believers and their religious backgrounds, norms and values.

Learning
Before religious learning can be discussed, we have to answer the question: What is ‘learning’?
Learning is a process of growing up, imitating, assimilating, remembering, understanding and reflecting. This is also the case when it comes to religious learning.

Religious learning preceeding interreligious learning
Religious learning   starts at home. From the beginning of life, the child is being taught; at that age it is called ‘education’. Parents as feeders and educators are the child’s first human environment. The child depends on the parents. They are the child’s orientation; the child follows its parents, first only with his eyes and head, after that he turns his body in their direction to watch them and later he tries to move to them.
At the age of 2-3 years, children start imitating their parents; they also do this with regard to religion. If the parents are praying, the children also try. They imitate the same attitude and try to repeat words; it is ‘learning by imitating’. Later, this imitation phase will change into the ‘identification phase’: the child  proves its identity  to its parent of the same gender and starts imitating him or her.
Little by little, children begin to ask questions about the ‘why and what’ of the things. It is important that parents spend a lot of time answering these questions and giving explanations. Patience is necessary, as children repeat these questions again and again, for certtainty and better understanding.
The age of  0-4 years is a very important phase in a child’s life. In Child Psychology it has been proven that 50% of the total development of a 17 year old  happens in the first four years of his or her life! So it’s crucial that the parents spend a lot of time with the child in this period and use this time very well, as it’s very hard to catch up if the child falls behind.

For religious education these first years of life are also important. Because young children love pictures with tales and rhyms, these have also been developed for religious education. In this way, parents can verbally transfer much knowledge and information.  The Israelites were even instructed by God to pass on  stories about God and his people to future generations (Deuteronomium 6:5-9). Rites and symbols are also parts of this.

If young children have some understanding of what parents tell them about religious life, they will recognize it later when they are taken by (one of) the parents to their house of prayer – be that a synagogue, church or mosque. They may experience the same devotion and this may result in active participation at a later stage.

Interreligious Learning
Parents’ religious education will partly be taken over by others, when children reach  school age and are taught ‘religion education’. New information will be added to what they have already learnt and integrated  into the thoughts of the pupils.
At the same time, pupils become conscious of classmates with other faiths, rites and symbols. The earlier the teaching staff  pay attention to this, e.g. in class talks, the more naturally children will accept these religious differences.

As children move up through the school system, they  receive more interreligious lessons. As we saw, interreligious learning  presupposes religious learning, especially at primary school. If basic knowledge about one’s own religion is not available, it will become very difficult for the teacher to teach two new religions together; and for the pupils it will be very difficult to distinguish and store this information without confusion.

Children will be taught how to compare information about the other religion with the information about their own religion. Sometimes they will see similarities, sometimes they will experience differences, also regarding rituals and symbols. Nevertheless, they may be anxious to get to know the different faith of classmates. If these classmates are also familiar with their own faith, the teacher can link them up and start an interreligiously-orientated learning process.

The next question we will examine is how to do this.

 

Starting point

It is known that looking for similarities is a good starting point; it gives a better atmosphere. Looking together for what is the same in both religions may lead to answers such as: ‘God’ or ‘Allah’ , or ‘praying’ or ‘care for another’. The teacher can ask how the pupils know that and perhaps a source will be mentioned: the bible (Christian) or the koran (Muslim). What is written in it? It can be arranged that the teacher  looks for something that both books have in common.

Writing the book ‘ABRAHAM AND IBRAHIM– The Bible and the Qur’an Told to Children’, I have combined such common stories and put them in chronological order: Creaturion, The first man and woman, The first sons, Noah/Nooh, etc. In this way, forty stories were written, recognizable from Tenah/Old Testament, New Testament and Koran. It can be called one long story in forty parts, with references to where in the bible and the koran the stories can be found. The sentences are short, which is good for children as well as for people from abroad who are learning your language.

The last part of the book – a Study Guide supplied by Kenneth and Margaret Thomas from the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. to be used in American education – contains plans for groups of Christian children for learning about Islam while standing within their own Christian Faith, suggested discussion questionsfor Christian and Muslim children to help them talk with one another about their religious traditions, boxes and notes with background for adult enrichment, Activities Instruction Section, including directions and materials for a variety of activities and reproducible Recources.

Back and Forth
25 questions from and to Christians and Muslims. This book is out of stock at the publisher. However, you can order it from Trialogue Foundation, Bruggensingel Zuid 165, 3823 BJ Amersfoort, The Netherlands.

Abraham’s Family tree
Trialogue has made a family tree of Abraham and his three wives, sons and grandsons/daughter, based upon and referred to Bible verses. This family tree can (in A4-size) be ordered from Trialogue à € 1,- per paper.

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