On Wednesday, February 27th, 2019, Peace Islands Institute of CT sponsored an Interfaith Panel at
Sacred Heart University on Texts that Unite and Texts that Divide. The event featured three Panelists:
Rabbi Marcelo Kormis, Fr. Anthony Ciorra and Imam Gazmend Aga.
Rabbi Marcelo Kormis approached the issue at a Judaic Perspective. In his remarks, he underlined that
Jews are commanded to disseminate the Torah as much as possible among their fellow Jews but are not
required to teach the seven commandments to non-Jews. However, when information or advice is
solicited that is a definite obligation to respond. An example of this would be if a non-Jew takes the
initiative in a posing query, the Jew must respond to the best of his/her ability.
Fr. Anthony Ciorra approached the issue at a Christianity Perspective. Fr. Anthony underlined the
importance to understand that text might cause violence because it depends on how you interpret the
text. He gave examples from verses from the Bible underlining that we are all children of Abraham and
that all human beings are here for peacemaking. Fr. Anthony said that all text follow a historical-critical
the method which is literary criticism, historical criticism, source of criticism and redaction criticism in which
both Rabbi Kormis and Imam Gazi agreed too.
Imam Gazmend Aga approached the issue from an Islamic Perspective. In his remarks Imam Gazi gave
examples of specific texts from the Kuran regarding the matters that one might think would ‘divide’ but
he included that there are much deeper meanings to the wordings and that no one should just
assume without knowing the history behind the verse. He added that besides the Kuran one should also
know the Islamic principles, hadiths, theologies, jurisprudence and historical circumstances of when the
verses were used in.
At the end of the program, the speakers answered questions from the audience. Later on, enjoying
cookies and muffins that were offered. All Abrahamic religions showed it is easy to find divisions but
finding the similarities is what makes friendships fosters. Understanding each others point of views
helps the growth of humanity to a more peaceful existence.