Volunteering for Peace CC in Palestine organized a conference entitled "Sufism, Principles and Dialogue" Wednesday May 6th at the Gallery Hall in Hebron.
The meeting hosted Shikha Khadija Radin who began turning in 1971 after she first saw whirling performed by the followers of Sufi Murshid Samuel Lewis in San Francisco, California. They had recently lost their beloved teacher. She was enraptured by the meditative movement which was to change her way of life. She was, at the time, a teacher and choreographer of modern dance. Formerly a member of the Lucas Hoving Dance Company in New York. Shortly thereafter she resigned from an administrative and teaching position with the San Francisco Art Commission to travel from Holland overland to India and back, searching out the mystics, especially the Dervish. Shikha Khadija was originally Jewish and she converted 30 years ago and become on of the leading teachers in her group.
The event also included; The head (Sheikh) of Al-aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the head of the Palestinian Islamic Supreme Council of the Jurisprudence, Shaikh Tayseer Al-Tamimi ( a well known interfaith leader in Palestine and a consultant to president Abbas in religious issues), a group of juries males and females from the Palestinian court ( 2 of the juries were from the women who recently appointed as high court juries in Palestine), a group of 7 Palestinian Sufis from Alqasimy Tariqa in Palestine, the vice-governor of Hebron and representative of president Abbas to the meeting, Universities professors, students, and other local leadership.
This event is the first of its kind in Palestine to address the topic Sufism to the Palestinian community and discuss about it. There are small group of Sufis in Palestine who also had the chance to take part and learn about similarities and differences with other groups around the world.
The meeting was chaired by Tareq Altamimi the coordinator of Volunteering for Peace CC and the member of the Global Council of URI, the meeting started with a prayer from the Emam of Al-aqsa mosque Shekh Abd Alkareem Zurba. Then Mr. Altamimi provided an introduction to URI, its main principles and purposes and presented the members of Volunteering for Peace who were attending the meeting.
After a welcoming from the chairman, Sheikh Tayseer Al-Tamimi provide an introduction about the importance of diversity in the Palestinian community and the openness to the world and to other religions. He welcomed Shikha Khadija to Palestine and her students and spoke about Sufism in Islam. He also spoke about the current situation of holy places in Palestine and the dangers it encounter due to the occupation.
Then the Vice-governor of Hebron and the representative of President Abbas spoke and welcomed Shikha Khadija and the audience in the city of Hebron and spoke about the importance of interfaith and knowing about other groups and methods of worshiping He also spoke about his excitement on this event which take place for the first time in Palestine and encourage organizing this kind on conference. He also thanked Volunteering for Peace for organizing the event and move the governor blessing to this event.
Then Shikha Khadija started with thanking Volunteering for Peace for organizing this event and inviting her to it and for giving her the opportunity to make this event in Palestine. She provided an introduction about the Mevlavi way of Sufism which is using the prayers and thiker as a method of worshiping to God. She started with an introduction of the existence of human being and the uniqueness of God. She provided a detailed information about the mevlavi way (tariqa) of Sufism and spoke about the whirling Dervish way which she use to reach to god. She mentioned that her way of worshiping to god is based on love and Thiker. She also gave live examples of the classes she normally provide around the world in the states, Europe, India, and other countries. to learn more about Shikha Khadija and her work check the following link http://www.whirlingdervish.org/about.htm
Then the group of local Sufis of Al-Qasimy in Palestine had a chance to present their way (Tariqa) and spoke about the Academy they already established to teach Sufism in Palestine and the activates they organize in Palestine. They also spoke about many similarities with what Shikha Khadija already mentioned.
Then an open discussion started, many questions were raised from the audience who raised very important points, and cleared a stereotypes which they have about Sufism and its practices. They also had a chance to hear from Shika Khadija about her experience in other countries and about the concept of Sufism. The dialogue was interactive and had many questions raised from University professors, Doctors, women leadership, Islamic Law experts, Shariaa teachers, and the previously mentioned key guests. There were many ideas and questions which was raised on Sufism and Mevlavi way through questions an answers by Shikha Khadija.
The meeting language was in English with a direct translations into/from Arabic. Photos are available at Volunteering for Peace Cc on Facebook and will be available also at http://www.uri.org/community/ , will try to send the photos in another email.
We wish you were able to join us the fruit of success of this very important conference which took Place for the first time in Palestine.
*Khadija Radin is also a Sheikha of the Sufi Ruhaniat International, a Sufi order founded by Murshid Samuel Lewis. She resides at The Dervish Center in upstate New York, teaching Sufi studies, the Mevlevi and other styles of turning and meditation. She is the director of the Body Mind Restoration Retreats, a cleansing and renewal program hosted at the center in the summer. Khadija Marcia Radin began formal training in meditation in 1969 with Swami Rudrananda and later with Swami Muktananda.
Volunteering for Peace CC
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