The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) engages in numerous interfaith dialogue programs. The programs connect Muslims and people of other faiths with one another in order to build mutual respect and understanding. Some of these programs consist of small scholarly discussions and some engage larger groups from different faith communities.
If you are interested in participating in one of ISNA’s interfaith dialogue programs, please click here to let us know. To read about our additional interfaith programs to serve the common good, click here.
In 2009 and 2012, the Islamic Society of North America partnered with Andover Newton Theological Seminary and a coalition of national Baptist organizations for the first-ever National Baptist-Muslim Dialogues. Each dialogue gathered together Baptist and Muslim clergy and lay leaders from across the country for presentations on one another’s beliefs and traditions, observations of worship services, and small-group discussions to share experiences.
The Midwest Dialogue of Catholics and Muslims is an annual joint initiative of ISNA and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which began in 1996. Its mission is to engage Catholic and Muslim scholars and leaders in interreligious dialogue. The dialogue provides a forum for Muslim-Catholic discussion, critique, and exchange of information on theological concepts and their relation to U.S. American society.
In February 2008, ISNA and the National Coalition of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) launched the National Muslim-Christian Initiative to enhance mutual understanding, respect, appreciation and support for what is sacred for each other. NCC is the umbrella group for a wide spectrum of 37 Protestant denominations, which include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.
Children of Abraham: Jews and Muslims in Conversation is an interfaith dialogue program jointly organized and facilitated by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). In 2007, ISNA and the URJ partnered to promote a nationwide series of local interfaith dialogues focusing on Muslim and Jewish communities, to promote mutual respect, understanding, and communication and to strengthen their capacity to advance peace and social justice on a global scale.
In 2010, ISNA joined with the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and Hartford Seminary for a three-part series of workshops and public forums for religious scholars and high-level practitioners. The series provided an opportunity for a unique interreligious exchange about Jewish and Muslim experiences as members of minority religions in the U.S. ISNA, JTS, and Hartford Seminary are now working to extend and sustain the impact of the series to congregations across the country by launching a new pilot program to implement its findings.
The annual Weekend of Twinning is an initiative led by The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU) in partnership with ISNA to strengthen Muslim-Jewish relations worldwide. The Weekend of Twinning provides an opportunity for synagogues, mosques and other Muslim and Jewish groups worldwide to hold joint programs together to build ties of communication, reconciliation and cooperation.
ISNA helps facilitate interfaith dialogue at an international level, representing the voices of American Muslims. Much of this work takes place through the annual Doha International Conference for Interfaith Dialogue in Doha, Qatar and through ISNA’s membership in Religions for Peace, the largest international coalition of representatives from the world’s great religions working together to promote peace.
In 2010, ISNA helped convene Shoulder to Shoulder: Standing with American Muslims; Advancing American Ideas. The Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign is a national coalition-based campaign of 34 national religious denominations and faith-based organizations, as well as numerous community-based organizations nationwide, that are committed to ending discrimination and violence against Muslims in the United States by equipping, connecting, and mobilizing faith leaders to effectively take action. Learn more and connect through their website.
ISNA fosters strong relationships with U.S. congressional staff and federal government officials, serving as an outreach resource to the American Muslim community and promoting a positive image of Islam and Muslims to the nation’s political leaders.
ISNA partners with numerous faith-based and policy groups to establish a platform to advocate for social justice issues for the common good. Click on any of the issues below to learn more about what ISNA is doing and how you can get involved.
ISNA is committed to the right of all people to religious freedom, both in the United States and around the world. Domestically, ISNA helped convene the interfaith campaign, Shoulder-to-Shoulder: Standing with American Muslims; Upholding American Values, and speaks out on behalf of the rights of Americans of all faiths and no faith. ISNA is also a major advocate of international religious freedom, including efforts to advance citizenship and the rights of minorities in Muslim-majority countries.
ISNA believes that humanitarian and poverty-focused international assistance is a critical obligation for America and encourages our government to increase funding in this area. Each day that we remain content with our current contribution of only 0.28 percent of our GDP (less than 1 percent of federal budget) to international aid, millions of lives are being threatened and ended by poverty, hunger, infant mortality and preventable diseases. ISNA works to fight global poverty through the Faithful Budget Campaign, Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty, and more.
ISNA is an active member of Fighting Poverty with Faith and the Faithful Budget Campaign, nationwide interfaith movements to end domestic poverty and restore economic justice to our nation. Through these coalitions, ISNA advocates for clear, immediate policy solutions to address the root causes of poverty. ISNA is also active in calling for federal policies that create jobs and strengthen our economy for those who are at greatest risk of impoverishment and hardship.
Ensuring access to health care for all is one of the many ways in which ISNA works to protect dignity and equal rights for all people. In 2009, ISNA issued a position paper in support of health care reform and facilitated the participation of Muslim health professionals in the debate. ISNA also partners with Faithful Reform in Health Care, Cover the Uninsured, and numerous religious organizations. Previously, ISNA was an active leader in Faith United Against Tobacco, a successful initiative to mobilize the faith community to support proven solutions to reduce smoking.
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is a founding member of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) and has been an active participant in NRCAT campaigns since its launch in 2006. NRCAT works to ensure that U.S.-sponsored torture of detainees never happens again; end the use of torture in U.S. prisons and detention facilities; end U.S. support of any country that engages in torture; and end the bigotry and hatred that promotes the practice and acceptance of torture against religiously, ethnically and other targeted groups.
ISNA is a member of Faith United to Prevent Gun Violence as well as the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV). ISNA has continually spoken out after each major tragic shooting in the past year that it is time to stop the epidemic of gun violence once and for all. ISNA supports and reaffirms the constitutional right of all citizens to bear arms, and calls for sensible federal policies to ensure that guns stay out of the hands of those who pose a risk to society.
ISNA is a Steering Committee member of the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition (IDAC), a diverse, nonpartisan coalition which seeks to mobilize the religious community to speak out and take action on disability policy issues with Congress, the President and Administration, and society at large. IDAC’s public priorities consist of urging the federal government to enable and expand opportunities for people with disabilities for independence and community living, employment, education, and access to health care.
ISNA leadership has been a formative part of the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East (NILI) since its establishment in 2003, building consensus among Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders and working in a bipartisan manner with policy makers and members of Congress to build public support for peace. Specifically, NILI builds support for strong U.S. leadership for a two-state solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict that brings security and recognition to Israel and establishes a viable and independent state for the Palestinians—two states living side by side in peace and security—with peace agreements between Israel and all its Arab neighbors.
The Muslim-Christian Initiative on the Nuclear Weapons Danger was developed by ISNA and the Churches’ Center for Theology and Public Policy in 2005 to enable Muslims and Christians in this nation to work to end the nuclear weapons danger. This priority originated amid the recognition that chemical, biological and particularly nuclear weapons do not discriminate between combatants and non-combatants and inevitably destroy innocent human life, even as they destroy other forms of life such as animals and vegetation, cause irrevocable damage to the environment for many generations to come and cause human suffering and disease.