Building Bridges of Hope “EQUITABLE AND ETHICAL DEVELOPMENT” Adnan Durrani, American Halal Company, Inc www.americanhalal.com Pontifical Gregorian University Vatican City State Rome, Italy October 12, 2010 My Religion Commands Me To Build Bridges With The Abrahamic Faiths “Allah commands you to sit down peacefully with the People of the Book (Al-Kitab) and follow the good example of earlier Prophets of the Kitab (Bible, Torah)” Koran, Surah 3:84 “I and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens, and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them… No one is to destroy a Christian house or church, to at all damage it… should anyone do any of this, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His prophet… No Muslim is to disobey this covenant till the Last Day of Judgment…” Prophet Mohammad, 628 CE (PBUH) Successful Tenants of Interfaith Bridges Don’t gloss over differences, celebrate and understand them. Less about Political Correctness, more about Peaceful Co-Existence. Avoid dogmatic scriptures Look for Common Ground and Establish Framework of Shared Values: • • • • • Caring for Creation & Humankind Charity / Service – mercy, care for the needy / disenfranchised Social, Economic, Racial Justice Family Values Environmental Responsibility Don’t focus purely on formal religious or political views – must open up each other’s hearts with compassion, empathy for the “Other” Three Guiding Lights (“Noor”) نور Engaging Islamic Communities with Interfaith Dialogue & Collaboration 1) TAARUF: Come To Know Each Other – Creating Alliances with each other “He created us as Nations and Tribes so that we may know each other” Koran, 49:13 “Enemy is One Whose Story you haven’t yet heard” …. Imam Ali 2) TAALUF: Building Alliances “And He hath put affection between their hearts…” Koran, 8:63 Need to Bond with Brothers / Sisters in Faith to a shared enterprise for a common higher purpose, ethics, values 3) TAKAMUL: Complement Each Other, make whole, i.e.: Sum of the Parts >> Whole Principles of Islamic Economics Western Economics – Profit Motive solely in material & mortal dimension (“Benefit for the few at the expense of the majority”) “There is one and only one social responsibility of business - to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits… and engage in open and free competition. The corporation is an instrument of the stockholders who own it.” Milton Friedman 1970 Islamic Economic Principles: Based On Social & Economic Justice Many Christian and Jewish leaders / philanthropists also had the same view: Cadburys, Roundtrees, Cannon, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Augustine, Maimonides, Catholic Charities All of them, like Islam/Shariah’s tenants, stressed: Egalitarianism, Wellbeing of Community, Social Justice, Advocacy for the Poor Summary of Socially Responsible And Shariah Business Ethics Shariah/Islamic Principles And SRB Values IDENTICAL Justice: Both Economic and Social to Communities & Society (Diversity, Empowerment, Transparency) Equity: to stakeholders (employees, communities, globally) – not just shareholders, i.e., Equitable & Living Wages (not minimum wages) or full healthcare to employees Responsibility: (Environment, Society, Employees, Consumers) New Breed of “Values Based” Enterprises – Led by Social Entrepreneurs Devoted to More Dynamic, Spiritual, Sustainable Faith-Based Values Socially Responsible Business As An Ethical Bridge Builder ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT TRUMPS ANY OTHER DEVELOPMENT PARAMETER: EDUCATION, HEALTH/WELLNESS, COMMUNITY ENGAGMENT, CHARITY BUSINESS/ENTERPRISE AS A “CHANGE AGENT” WME’s = “WEAPONS OF MASS ENLIGHTENMENT” “Business IS the most powerful force on earth. Unlike governments, which are bound by politics, bureaucracy, conventions, businesses in America are free to lead. Unlike Churches, Community Groups, and non profits, business has serious resources to back up its ideas. Business acts quickly, can get rules changed for its interests, and overcomes others special interests.” Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield Farms 2007-2008 Financial Crisis Calling for More Ethical & Equitable Business/ Finance: Shariah Finance, CSR, Micro-finance try to nurture SUSTAINABLE, JUST ENTERPRISES “If I were to ask for a billion dollars for a good global cause, there would be a lot of uproar – but a TRILLION dollars down the drain, everyone is off still playing golf, and not a word spoken.” “Usually, most businesses have someone in charge of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), who sponsors a cricket match or exhibition, “ said Yunus, “But if you create a social business out of CSR, then everyone can benefit.” Dr. Mohammed Yunus International Islamic Finance Forum Dubai, 4/13/2010 As in Greg Mortenson’s Three Cups of Tea: Listen… Respect… And Connect… With the “Other” READ Global www.readglobal.org Rural Education and Development Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation Funded Clinton Global Initiative and Bill Clinton endorsed READ Global’s Success in Conflict Zones Due to Contract Directly with Communities – NOT via government, political, or religious institutions Communities Come to READ and have to become committed Stakeholders (must contribute 15%-20%) All religious, political power groups in community must sign a contract Build an Interfaith NGO within each village that belongs to the community Sustaining Project income, jobs, empowerment, education Collaboration health services, microcredit, literacy, etc READ serves as a safe, Interfaith “CONNECTOR,” linking diverse religious , faith-centered communities, diverse cultures & languages to much needed services “Extremists might bomb a school, but they never targeted a library. The school belonged to the government, the library to the village.” www.readglobal.org READ Global What if ONE IDEA could meet the challenges of global poverty? www.readglobal.org READ Global’s Success Based On Celebrate Tradition of different faiths, without proselyting or sanctioning any Position as an NGO, a-political, and non-religious organization = Honest Broker Create “Zones of Peace” Has 100% success rate in war torn conflict regions like India, Nepal, which are multi-denominational: Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist Over 45 libraries/community centers (40 more planned) 1.5 million rural poor impacted out of poverty and into education & employment www.readglobal.org “RELIGIOSITY” is Gaining Momentum #1 Websites = Beliefnet.com & Christian Broadcasting Network (700 Club) Record Conversions to both Islam and Evangelical Christianity Zabihah.com: 22 Million page views, 6 Million Unique Visitors zabihah.com Shariah Finance – now handling 1.5 Trillion US Dollars! “Islamic Identity” Burgeoning: 37% of U.K. Muslims under age of 40 follow Shariah customs. Re-emergence of the Hijab Renaissance of Islamic based Music (Sami Yusuf) Huge Demand for Islamic Deen Forums & Scholars (Hamza Yusuf & Zaytuna) 14 14 Islamaphobia At An All Time High Current Environment of Polarized Fear & Hate Compel Us to Urgently Build Bridges of Hope We need to deploy Smart Bombs – WME’s, exercising compassion, understanding, and faith based leadership (engagement) Park 51 Islamic Center USA: Islamaphobia Building Bridges Over Troubled Waters Timing for Interfaith Dialogue no longer just a social need – U.S. is in a crisis that needs community & faith based engagement, at every level: Religious, business, civic, political Our Socially Responsible Business: “Prophets for Peace” American Halal Co, Inc / Saffron Road We seek to build bridges of peace and understanding, using a consumer branded enterprise as our vehicle www.saffronroadfood.com www.facebook.com/SaffronRoadFood Equitable & Ethical Development Examples of Quantifiable SRB Impact Impact Empowerment & Education 1.5 million rural poor Up to 80 libraries Women's Empowerment Environment 50,000 homes, 1,000 churches, synagogues, mosques Renewable Energy and Organic Agriculture Over 40 million consumers, $12 million in philanthropy, 100,000 acres of organic farms Health & Nutrition 100 million consumers eating healthy, including 2,000 schools Charity / Philanthropy $300 million to NGO's / Charities (eg. International Rescue Committee) Cultural Validation Outreach to 50,000 schools in Islamic Countries Distribution of Wealth to Poor Grameen Dannon Yogurt, Grameen Hospitals Over 30 million in poverty benefitted, 95% Muslims in poor villages SAFFRON ROAD A SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE SHARIAH BUSINESS The first “SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE” AMERICAN MUSLIM BRAND Establish Sustainable Foundation: “Prophets for Peace” • Nourish moderate Muslim voices and advocate podium for youth engagement • Donate % of profits of Saffron Road Brand into PFP Foundation Promote, Facilitate and Lead Community to embrace American Muslims via Interfaith dialogues Foster Holistic Muslim Business Model: Halal, Shariah Compliant, SRB Cultivate Muslim Luminaries to Champion Saffron Road’s Peace Building Activism From Muslim Nobel Peace Prize Winners, to Scholars, to Sports Stars, to Musicians Obtain Endorsement of Non Muslim illuminarys and Businesses for pluralistic outreach www.saffronroadfood.com www.facebook.com/SaffronRoadFood 18 EQUITABLE & ETHICAL DEVELOPMENT Current Challenges For Future Sustainable Interfaith Development Current Total Shut Down of Ethical Charitable giving for bonafide American Islamic Charities Gags the Moderate Voices, Spooks Top Donors, Halts All Educational Progress Muslim leaders and Moderate Muslim Majority Need To Take Leadership in Civic Engagement on local, state, federal levels. Non-Muslim religious leaders, civic leaders, politicians, business & community leaders need to Build Bridges with American Muslims, publically supporting American Muslim initiatives Need to Establish “Peace Initiatives:” Prophets for Peace (American Halal Company) Rabbi Jack Bemporad’s “Institute of Islamic and Jewish Understanding” Saleem Ali’s Peace Parks READ’s Zones of Peace • To Drown Out Voices of Hate Driving Islamaphobia and Anti-Semitism • To Have A Unified Bridge for Peacemakers of Faith to Stand On • To Lead Media Outreach To Be Informed And Just To the “OTHER” Hope DOES Spring Eternal Among Our Youth Interest & Engagement in Interfaith forums at all time high Survey: 67% of college freshmen in U.S. committed to do social service / volunteer work (highest in over 25 years) During Hurricane Katrina – 220,000 college students did 2.2 million hours of volunteering Pakistan Floods: Over 500,000 teenagers volunteering service for the crisis THE RESPONSIBILITY IS WITH US AS FAITH-BASED COMMUNITY LEADERS TO CONTINUE TO BUILD THE BRIDGES OF HOPE In Conclusion… As Alexander Solzhenitsyn put it: “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between religious ideologies, nor between political parties either – but right through every human heart.” Thank You! Gratzie! Todah! Shukran!