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Searching for peace and harmony

In the Quran, the prophet Muhammad Ibn Abdullah was brutally persecuted during the first 13 years of his ministry, and many of his followers we murdered in the streets of Mecca. After fleeing 350 miles away to Medina where he was accepted, he was still being attacked by people from Mecca, forcing him to defend himself and his people.

"So when you see some of the verses there " 'you kill those who are killing you' " you have to take it in that context there," he said.

He said that with acts of terrorism such as the events of Sept. 11, 2011, and the acts of terrorism in the Middle East, many of them described as a "jihad," the term has become skewed as an act of violence.

Mahdi said the term means "struggle" or striving for a good cause. The largest jihad, though, is against a person's evil cravings.

"Then jihad, in the teaching of the holy Quran, says it is wrong to compel people to accept Islam, but rather promote the goodness and promote the beauty of your religion," he said. "The third type is to defend yourself, your faith and your community."

With these symposiums, Mahdi said he hopes there is discussion of commonalities between the religions and to develop harmony between them, such as the fact that Muslims believe in Jesus like many of the other religions.

But Monshin said he would more so like to admire the differences of the religions and look toward the common goals each faith has.

"In January, I asked my sangha [Buddhist congregation] to participate in mindfulness studies," he said. "In being mindful, Muslims do their five prayers a day. We can learn the wisdom of doing it five times a day, but still learning mindfulness."

One of the main differences between the Islamic religions and the Buddhist religion is the belief in one God versus many. Islam is monotheistic, but Buddhists believe in several gods, having more in common with the Hindu religion.<\p>

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One of the main differences between the Islamic religions and the Buddhist religion is the belief in one God versus many. Islam is monotheistic, but Buddhists believe in several gods, having more in common with the Hindu religion.

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