Mary in the Abrahamic Religions


The WINC’s, or Women’s Interfaith Network of Northern Cincinnati Suburbs group, hosted “Mary in the Abrahamic Faiths” on October 8th. This talented and friendship seeking group of women have been meeting for several years sharing their faith stories, religious practices, visiting each others places of worship, participating in prayer services, celebrating cultural events and working together for those in need. As they are able to share their faiths, they discovered a common woman of strength, courage and deep faith in God. Her name is Mary or Miriam from the Abrahamic Religions. The scriptures each tell a different story, but the same truths are prevalent. The stories of Mary and Miriam in each of the Hebrew, Christian, Muslim, and Baha’i sacred scriptures describe woman with a passionate heart, always putting God first in her life even when it meant she could be expelled from her own community. Some faiths describe her as a great prophet, others a beautiful creature of God, others describe her as the Mother to us all. This woman of ancient times seeks truth and justice. Her strength is unbreakable to the cultural norms or to the persecution of her people. Her heart is honest and compassionate. She knows the poor and the oppressed. She desires freedom and equality. She magnify’s God’s greatness to the world to through her words and actions. Mary and Miriam exemplify a truth, the reality of God’s grace.

Festival of Faiths Seeking Volunteers

Festival of Faiths Seeking Volunteers


You can be part of the inaugural Cincinnati Festival of Faiths as a volunteer!  

Volunteers are needed to help with all aspects of this gathering, including:

  • assisting and directing exhibitors and vendors in unloading from their vehicles and transporting materials to their tables;
  • serving as staging assistants for entertainment acts by moving equipment, etc.;
  • serving as greeter or a guide to direct participants to “conversation” rooms;
  • manning the volunteer check-in table.

When you sign up, you will be able to choose the time-shift(s) you are available to work. You will receive a t-shirt and credit for community service hours, if needed for your school or another organization. Once you sign up, you just need to check in at the volunteer table the day of the event at the beginning of your shift and you will be given your specific duties. 

Sign up here


Greater Cincinnati’s first-ever Festival of Faiths on Sunday, June 24, 2018, at Xavier University’s Cintas Center will bring together neighbors, families and spiritual leaders to celebrate the area’s religious diversity. The day will feature faith-based exhibits, dialogues, workshops, art, music and fun activities for all ages. The event is free and open to the public.

Modeled after popular long-standing festivals in Louisville and Indianapolis, Cincinnati’s festival will showcase the many faith traditions of our region. It also includes a day of community service for interfaith groupings of volunteers. Read more..

Call to Action: Protect: Protect Immigrant Children and Families

Protect immigrant children and families seeking safety and shelter from violence by keeping these families together.


Please send a message to Congress TODAY!

The following is an important action alert from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

'When we look to our southern border, where migrant families who are escaping various forms of violence and persecution in their homeland are being routinely separated. Since October 2017, over 700 children have been separated from their parents and rendered "unaccompanied," including over 100 children under the age of four. On May 4, 2018, the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) stated that it will refer all individuals who cross the border without authorization for criminal prosecution, including adult members of family units. If implemented, this policy will undoubtedly lead to a drastic increase in incidences of family separation.'


Send a message to Congress and ask that they protect immigrant children and families seeking safety and shelter from violence by keeping these families together.  You can send this message immediately here.  Or, share this message to your U.S. Senators and Representative by phone.  Locate their contact information here.

Send the following message to your U.S. Senators and Representative:

Dear Senator/Representative,
Children are vulnerable and should not be separated from their parents. The family is a foundational element of our Faith teaching and family unity is a cornerstone of our American immigration system.

Separating parents from their children will not deter families from seeking safety and security in the U.S. Such a policy will not cure the pervasive root causes of migration existing in the violent areas of Central America. Furthermore, a policy of separating families at the border will be extremely costly to the U.S. taxpayer, costing hundreds of dollars/night per family.

 I urge you to recognize the importance of family unity and use your oversight capabilities to:
(1) Tell DHS Not to Separate Families
(2) Prevent DHS from Receiving Funding for This Harmful and Costly Practice
(3) Propose More Humane Solutions, Such As Alternatives to Detention.

Bridges of Faith Trialogue to host Cincinnati’s first Festival of Faiths

Bridges of Faith Trialogue to host Cincinnati’s first Festival of Faiths

Greater Cincinnati’s first-ever Festival of Faiths on Sunday, June 24, 2018, at Xavier University’s Cintas Center will bring together neighbors, families and spiritual leaders to celebrate the area’s religious diversity. The day will feature faith-based exhibits, dialogues, workshops, art, music and fun activities for all ages.  The event is free and open to the public. 

Modeled after popular long-standing festivals in Louisville and Indianapolis, Cincinnati’s festival will showcase the many faith traditions of our region. It also includes a day of community service for interfaith groupings of volunteers.

Organized by the local Bridges of Faith Trialogue, the Festival’s objectives are to promote awareness of Greater Cincinnati’s religious diversity, celebrate the variety of cultural contributions to our community’s quality of life, and educate families about the world’s religions.   

The theme for this inaugural event is “Compassion through Action” in recognition of the role the faith community has historically played and continues to play in advancing a civil, socially just and welcoming community for all who live, work and visit Greater Cincinnati.  The event will also serve to unify our community, focusing on our similarities and celebrating our differences. 

Co-Chairing the Festival’s Steering Committee are the Rev. Canon Manoj Zacharia, sub-dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Sandy Kaltman, president of the local American Jewish Committee, and Maria Munir, a board member of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati.   Heading up the Program Committee are the Brueggeman Center’s James Buchanan Ph.D., Umama Alam of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, Sarah Weiss, director of the Holocaust and Humanity Center, and Nazly Mamedova, an attorney with Wanglaw.

“Religions worldwide contribute in many ways to the soul of a community – its values, mores, human relations and ultimately its progress. Regardless of creed, religions universally lift up compassion as a pathway to enrich spiritual and personal relationships that build a community’s vibrancy and livability for all,” said Maria Munir, Festival Co-Chair.

Contact:    Chip Harrod   Email:

More details about the event will be shared in the coming months. Or contact

Kids for Peace: Growing and Expanding Offerings


Kids4Peace Cincinnati:  Growing and Expanding Offerings

2017 was a year of significant growth for Kids4Peace Cincinnati.  The number of campers doubled from the first camp in 2016. Twenty -one campers attended camp, and several of those were members who had attended the first camp in 2016.  The second-year campers continued to build on some of the skills learned in the first year and facilitated some of the sessions for the new first- year campers.  A few of those first- year campers remarked that they really enjoyed having the other campers teaching the sessions.  At completion of the Day Camp, families and friends of the campers joined in for an interfaith pot luck dinner.  More than 60 people attended that dinner, and now the pot luck dinners are continuing throughout the year.

We also expanded the year-round sessions for the campers.  The new friends, made during the Day Camp session, were invited to get together again and attend additional programs throughout the year.  Some of the sessions included:  planting a “Peace Garden” on a beautiful spot donated from Spring Grove Cemetery.  Additionally, members attended and observed services of all three faiths.  After the services, the friends again gathered for discussion and fellowship. Always food!  The campers met with students from Adath Israel Congregation and the Avondale Center to celebrate Martin Luther King Day.

Another popular event was to attend a Xavier Women’s Basketball game and joined the team courtside for a group photo.

Kids4Peace Cincinnati is now participating in additional Cincinnati Community programs, such as presenting programs for congregations and Vacation Bible Schools and will be represented at this year’s Cincinnati Festival of Faiths on June 24.

We are extremely happy to announce that registration is now open for the 3rd. Annual Kids4Peace Cincinnati, July 30-August 3, 2018. This year’s program has expanded to include another day of fun. Several campers have already registered!  Please join that fun. Make new friends, share experiences, learn to stand together, and become a voice as a PeaceBuilder” in our local community. Also, you will have a wonderful time!

For questions go to  To register, go to programs

IJPC - Clean Dream Act Prayer Vigil


'IJPC held a press conference with two YES members that have DACA and the President of Xavier University to remind Congress of their March 5 deadline to pass a clean Dream Act. At the event, three Sisters of Charity shared their experience in Washington DC this week with civil disobedience during a Catholic Day of Action for Dreamers. Watch the livestream on Facebook, and be sure to read the press release.

Continue calling Congress to pass a clean Dream Act: 

IJPC's own José Cabrera stood next to Fr. Graham, SJ, president of Xavier University, who said, "Jose, you make Xavier University very proud because you are a young man living your life for and with others the way we urge all of our students to do." We'd have to agree!

Congress' March 5 deadline approaches on Monday. Although our efforts to pass a clean Dream Act will not stop, we invite you to gather for a prayer vigil to mark the day.

Prayer Vigil for a Clean Dream Act
Monday, March 5, at 5:00 p.m.
Outside Senator Rob Portman's Office
312 Walnut Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Corner of 3rd & Walnut

Join our Facebook event page.

Now is the time to show up and speak out. We must keep pressuring Congress to act. We need a permanent solution for DACA, and that solution is a clean Dream Act.'

A Story of "Cities For Life"

A Story of Cities for Life

by Sue Prieshoff


There was a gathering of like minds at the St Peter in Chains Cathedral in Cincinnati on November 30, 2017.   The day was recognized around the world as International Day against the Death Penalty.  It originated in Italy in 1786, the first country to recognize the evil of killing people to show that killing people is wrong. 

I became aware of this date after writing a pen pal in prison here in Ohio. He was formerly on death row, but now awaits a new trial. We have been writing for over 20 years.  This inmate also had a pen pal in Italy through a pen pal international program.  Over the years, Francesco and I met through the inmates’s letters and we began emailing. Last year was the Year of Mercy in the Catholic Church.  Francesco felt the call by Pope Frances to come the the USA to meet his pen pal here in Ohio.

We wrote back and forth, and welcomed Francesco to come and stay at our house. It is always exciting to meet a pen pal who you have only written to and one from so far away.  While our guest was in town, I made contacts with like minded groups that I was involved with.  This is where Francesco made his pitch for Cincinnati to join with the “Cities for Life.”  Turns out he lived in Tuscany, where it all began with his group “the community of Sant’Egidio.”  It lit a spark.

It took a year to get it on the books and that is how we came to the event hosted at the Cathedral in Cincinnati.  Turns out, Cincinnati was one of only a few cities in the the USA to acknowledge the November date. Our Archdiocese Social Action Office and Intercommunity Justice and Peace office got the program together.  We were proud to be in good company with those of like mind around the world. One person can make a difference.  Try it!

'The Community of Sant'Egidio began in Rome following the Second Vatican Council. Today, it is a movement of lay people with more than 50,000 members dedicated to evangelisation and charity in Rome, Italy and in more than 70 countries throughout the world..The Community of Sant’Egidio seeks to communicate the Gospel and advocates solidarity with the poor, in the evangelical spirit of a Church that is the "Church for all and particularly the poor" (Pope John XXIII). The community promotes ecumenism and dialogue, recommended by Vatican II as a way of peace and co-operation among the religions, a way of life and a means of resolving conflicts.

To read more about World Coalition against the Death Penalty and Cities for Life please visit...

Save the Date! 1st Annual Cincinnati Festival of Faiths

1st Annual Greater Cincinnati FESTIVAL OF FAITHS

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by Chip Harrod

WHAT:    A weeklong festival in June of 2018  to showcase Greater Cincinnati’s religious diversity and vitality,  to celebrate religion’s contributions to our community’s quality of life, and  to model our exemplary interfaith relations and collaboration. 

Including:      A Day of Community Service – interfaith groupings of volunteers will spend the day together performing community service, followed by a discussion of their shared experience.  (There will be optional days and service projects.  This activity should be of special appeal to younger audiences.)

Concluding:  A Day of Celebration – a fun and educational festival, featuring music and culture, purely non-political, within a setting of many and diverse religious group exhibitors; to include opportunities for interfaith prayer/meditation and dialogue.  (A Sunday afternoon from 1:00-5:00 p.m.)

Inaugural theme:   “Compassion through Action”

WHY:     Religion and religious expression contribute to the soul of a community - its values, its norms, its institutional mores, its human relations, its compassion and, ultimately, its progress.  Cincinnati has been blessed with a rich history of religion’s contributions, especially to the advancement of a civil, socially just, and welcoming community.  As a force for good, our faith community should be celebrated and encouraged to continue its commitment to strengthen and unify our city.  Moreover, there’s value in being reminded of Cincinnati’s leading example as a community that appreciates its religious pluralism and inter-religious collaboration.  The last occasion when the entire community lifted up organized religion and our religious heritage in any major way for public recognition was the 1988 Interfaith Celebration of Cincinnati’s Bicentennial.  There has been nothing on this scale since. 

Two neighboring cities have “festivals of faith:” Louisville (23rd year) and Indianapolis (5th year).  From visits to both cities entailing meetings with their respective festival organizers, we’ve learned of these community benefits from hosting a festival:

·      Unites the community;

·      Demonstrates that religious pluralism is good for a community;

·      Builds interfaith understanding and cooperation;

·      Nurtures community through enlightened programs;

·      Stimulates common action to address community needs; and,

·      Connects people to the region’s religious congregations and faith-based organizations.

HOW TO:   Cincinnati’s Bridges of Faith Trialogue will take the administrative lead in organizing the Cincinnati Festival of Faiths.  It will provide the project management, assemble an inclusive Festival Steering Committee, handle the logistics, arrangements and promotions, adopt participation guidelines, and seek the required resources for delivering the companion events of the festival and day of service.  Volunteers will be necessary to delivering a successful event.

The Bridges of Faith Trialogue is a 501c3 nonprofit, which has this mission:  

The Bridges of Faith Trialogue is a non-partisan civic organization founded upon interfaith dialogue that works to develop educational and community service programming to foster greater understanding, respect, compassion, inclusion and engagement for all people and faith communities in Cincinnati and beyond. 

BUDGET:  The budget for a Cincinnati Festival of Faiths is roughly estimated at $27,000.  We expect to receive both in-kind and cash donations.  Group sponsorships will be available, and there will be a participation fee for exhibitors.

WHERE:   For the Day of Celebration we have chosen a spacious indoor venue, reserving the Cintas Center of Xavier University; free parking.

WHEN:   The Greater Cincinnati Festival of Faiths will be held on June 24, 2018.  

SPECIAL FEATURES AND POTENTIAL COLLATERAL ACTIVITIES:  interfaith prayer service; guest speakers; opportunity for dialogue; fun activities, e.g., Sikh turban-tying, picture-taking with a life-size cardboard cutout of Pope Francis; diverse music and entertainment; youth component.  We are contemplating a range of speakers and educational programs at diverse venues the week leading up to the June 24th Day of Celebration.

EARLY SUPPORTERS OF THIS IDEA:  Entities that have expressed interest in this preliminary concept include the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue of Xavier University, Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Diocese of Southern Ohio, Christ Church Cathedral Cincinnati, K. K. Bene Israel/Rockdale Temple, American Jewish Committee (AJC), the Cincinnati Sikh community, Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC)-Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, AMOS Project, Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati (MARCC), Kids4Peace, The Holocaust and Humanity Center.

Festival Steering Committee (to date):  Umama Alam, James Buchanan Ph.D., Jackie Congedo, Chip Harrod, Rabbi Meredith Kahan, Sandy Kaltman (Co-Chair), Justin Kirschner, Inayat Malik M.D., Maria Munir (Co-Chair), Jan and Bruce Seidel, Jaipal Singh, Tony Stieritz, Sarah Weiss, Rev. Canon Manoj Zacharia (Co-Chair), Rabbi Gary Zola.

Religious communities are, without question, the largest and best organized civil institutions in the world today, claiming the allegiance of billions of believers and bridging the divides of race, class and nationality.  They are uniquely equipped to meet the challenges of our time; resolving conflicts, caring for the earth, the sick and needy, and promoting peaceful coexistence among all people.” -  Religions for Peace

Islamic Center to Create Professorship in Islamic Studies at University of Cincinnati

Islamic Center to Create Professorship in Islamic Studies at the University of Cincinnati


CINCINNATI - Nov. 28, 2017 - The Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati is donating $1 million to create The Inayat and Ishrat Malik Professorship in Islamic Studies within the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Cincinnati (UC). Funding for this gift came specially and directly from Inayat and Ishrat Malik; Dr. Inayat Malik is a urologist with The Urology Group and a pioneer in the local Muslim and interfaith community. 

The Malik Professorship marks a new era for UC by rounding out its complement of expertise in Abrahamic religions; Judaic and Catholic studies chairs already exist. The new position will allow the university to boost classes and research related to Islamic studies that already include a strong focus on the Middle East and Arabic language and culture.

"I am impressed by the Maliks' desire to lift up UC and the entire community," said UC President Neville G. Pinto. "This professorship will strengthen our relationships in the Muslim community, similar to how our Judaic and Catholic chairs are linked to their respective communities. It also will deepen our academic expertise in related fields including history, philosophy and international relations." 

The Maliks, the Islamic Center and UC have a long history together. Dr. Malik came to Cincinnati in 1967 to specialize in urology at the UC Medical Center and subsequently became a leader in the Muslim community. He was on the clinical faculty of the UC College of Medicine for more than 20 years and in private practice for most of his career.

The Islamic Center has its roots in Clifton, dating back more than 50 years. Growth in the local Muslim community resulted in the creation of the present-day Islamic Center. Today, it sits on an 18-acre campus in West Chester, and is celebrated for its strong interfaith relationships, cross-cultural understanding and community service. Dr. Malik was instrumental in its creation, serving as the first board chair for 18 years.

"We have a significant Muslim population in the area now, many of them affiliated with UC Medical Center," Dr. Malik said. "Ishrat and I felt that we needed to make this resource available to UC, not just for the sake of the Muslim community but for the larger community so they have an understanding of the history of Muslim civilizations and contributions." 

As a modern institution, UC has many partnerships in the community; collaboration with institutions like the Islamic Center enhance the quality of education for students and faculty. Shakila Ahmad, a 1982 graduate of UC, is the Islamic Center's board president. She is also a trustee of the University of Cincinnati Foundation. 

"When we realized the need that existed at the university, we felt the Islamic Center had a responsibility to fill the education gaps in regard to Islam and understanding the Muslim-American community," Ahmad said. "The Muslim community has a strong link and commitment to the university and relies on it as an institution with a wealth of knowledge."

"We are very grateful to the Maliks and the Islamic Center for this tremendous gift," said College of Arts & Sciences Dean Ken Petren. "This professorship will expand and deepen teaching and research around Islamic history and culture. Our college already covers a diverse number of related topics, and this will help grow our expertise and add breadth to existing work in world religious traditions."

Dr. Malik is not the only family member with ties to UC. Four out of five of the Malik's five daughters are UC alumnae. 

Having lived more than 50 years in Cincinnati also influenced the Maliks to give this gift to the Islamic Center and, ultimately, UC. 

"I've spent most of my adult life and all of my professional life here, we've raised our children here, we love the city," Dr. Malik said.  "And the faith community has been very open to Muslims and very responsive to our outreach - whether it be the Catholic, Protestant or Jewish communities."

The Maliks see their support of UC, the Islamic Center and other civic work as part of their faith, which teaches that whatever gift you've been given, you share with others. 

Ahmad said she has directly benefited from their example. 

"One of the principles that I have learned is that we have a responsibility to Islam and a responsibility as Americans," she said. "Inayat and Ishrat have lived out that faith and that practice for so many of us to follow. This gift to the university is a perfect example."

Dr. Malik's involvement in the local interfaith community includes cofounding the Bridges of Faith Trialogue, an on-going conversation among Cincinnati civic leaders of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths. He serves on several local and national boards and lauded for his work in diversity and inclusion.


For more information: 

Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati - Shakila Ahmad, Chair of the Board & President

The University of Cincinnati Foundation -Julia Mace
Assistant Director, Communications
T: 513-556-1330
C: 513-310-8042

About the University of Cincinnati Foundation
Established in 1975, the University of Cincinnati Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation and the private sector fundraising entity for the University of Cincinnati and UC Health. The Foundation supports UC's aspirations through philanthropic collaboration with the colleges, the Academic Health Center, UC Health and other units to maximize private support. The Foundation's advancement efforts promote the development of productive, enduring relationships with alumni, friends, colleagues, students, foundations, corporations and the Greater Cincinnati community. For more information, please visit

Encountering Our Neighbors of Other Faiths

Encountering Our Neighbors of Other Faiths

by Catholic Social Action Office

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'This Fall, St. Susanna (Mason) and St. Francis de Sales (Cincinnati) parishes each engaged in a three-week dialogue series with their Muslim neighbors from the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati and the Clifton mosque. Called "Encountering Our Neighbors of Other Faiths," the Archdiocesan-designed process brought together dozens of Catholics and Muslims to teach each other about their respective faiths. They began by reviewing the Catholic Church's official calls for such encounters and agreeing to groundrules for interfaith dialogue. The groups visited each other's houses of worship and received overviews of each faith's tenets from their respective clergy. In this picture, pastor Fr. Gene Contadino leads members of the Clifton mosque on a tour of the beautiful church of St. Francis de Sales in East Walnut Hills. One participant's reflection seemed to sum up the general evaluation of both groups: “This is so wonderful - how can we get other people to talk to each other like this?” We look forward to many more parishes engaging in such encounters in the months ahead.

“Sometimes Christians and Muslims fear and distrust one another as a result of past misunderstandings and conflict…We have many spiritual resources in common which we must share with one another as we work for a more human world.” - St. John Paul II


In November, hundreds of Catholics and Lutherans gathered at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Centerville to prayerfully commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Bishop Suzanne Dillahunt (ELCA Southern Ohio Synod) and Bishop Joseph Binzer (Archdiocese of Cincinnati) presided over the Common Prayer Service, which was also used by Pope Francis and Lutheran leaders in Lund, Sweden last year. Music was performed by a joint choir from Epiphany and St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. Together, we gave thanks for our growing unity, repented for the harm caused, and committed to continuing our work together to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The prayer service capped off an amazing year of activities between the Archdiocese and Synod, involving over a thousand Catholics and Lutherans. The two faith communities have resolved to continue the relationship by jointly addressing the opioid and addiction crisis impacting our families, churches and neighborhoods.'