Catholic-Muslim Joint Action Initiative

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Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities, and Sister Nura Amatullah, former director of Muslim Women’s Institute for Research & Development (MWIRD), and other participants of the Catholic-Muslim Joint Action Initiative

Islam and Christianity have rich traditions of social service, community action, and interfaith work. Drawing upon these commonalities, and funded by the GHR Foundation, the Interfaith Center of New York (ICNY) initiated a project in 2010 to build collaboration between Catholic and Muslim service providers in New York City: The Catholic-Muslim Joint Action Initiative.  Seeking to translate the ideals of A Common Word into action, ICNY has worked to foster partnerships between Catholic and Muslim social service providers in three boroughs of New York City (Bronx, Staten Island, and Manhattan).  While the projects differed from each other, all shared two common features: (a) they incorporated dialogue on Catholic and Muslim teachings and community life, and (2) they all built collaboration around specific social service needs in each borough.

From hunger issues in the Bronx, to immigration in Manhattan, and foster care concerns in Brooklyn, Muslim and Catholic communities worked together across faith lines to solve social problems. As partners addressed communities’ needs, they also developed and deepened relationships with one another. From this initiative projects were generated and a knowledge base was achieved that far exceeded our expectations. The best practices are distilled in the How to Move From Dialogue to Action: Interfaith Social Action Partnerships manual and a more exhaustive chronicling of efforts in the longer report. Importantly, these from our partnerships learnings are translatable to other contexts beyond the Muslim-Catholic experiences from which they germinated. This program was made possible with a generous grant from the Gerald A. and Henrietta Rauenhorst Foundation.

You can read about Muslim-Catholic Initiative programs here, and for more information, contact Iman Boukadoum, 212-870-3515 or iman@interfaithcenter.org.